Can’t We All Get Along? … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

This started out as an epistle about last Sunday’s yo-yoing of Matt Cassel by head coach Todd Haley. There’s an interesting dynamic in that relationship that deserves discussion. I will get to it in due time.

That’s because something else popped up on the Chiefs radar screen yesterday and that was the Mr. Charlie goes to Florida story. Let’s start there.

Haley & Weis

National media outlets like ESPN and the Gainesville Sun newspaper (shouldn’t every paper in Florida be called the Sun?) were reporting that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis may soon be doing that job at the University of Florida for the Gators new head coach Will Muschamp.

Is it true? At this time that’s not crystal clear. Haley said it was news to him when asked about it after practice on Friday. But there is smoke in the air and I’m willing to say that there’s a fire causing the rumors. More than likely that fire was set by Weis and his agent.

Does that mean Weis is headed to “The Swamp”? It’s safe to say it’s under consideration. Whether it happens or not should play itself out pretty quickly. …Read More!

Early New Year’s Day Bowl Prospects- Part 1

There’s plenty of action on New Year’s Day with six bowl games around the country, from Dallas, to Florida, to Arizona and California. That’s four early games and two in the evening.

That’s how we are going to break up these games to cover the best prospects coming into the 2011 NFL Draft. First we’ll bring you the best prospects among the seniors and then the underclassmen that are expected to join the ’11 draft class. Finally, we’ll throw in a few players that look like they might generate some interest from the Chiefs.  Later we’ll break down the two evening games.

Enjoy the day of football, and do some scouting as well.


GATOR BOWL/12:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Mississippi State – #79 OT Derek Sherrod, 6-5, 305 pounds, 5.22 seconds, Senior – A second-team AP All-America in ’10 and a first-team All-SEC selection in ’09-’10, Sherrod has started 34 consecutive games at left tackle. A team captain in ’10 for the Bulldogs, he played in 46 games over his career. Scouts rave about his quick feet, balance and upper body strength. He’s an outstanding blocker for the pass, very good run blocker. Barring injury, Sherrod is one of those LTs that starts as a rookie and plays for 10 to 12 years. …Read More!

Friday 12/31 Practice Report-Weis Update

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs went through their final regular-season practice on Friday, getting their workout done inside Arrowhead Stadium where they were a protected a bit from the strong north wind that started blowing in the last morning.

But then a strong wind started blowing out of the state of Florida. Reports by both ESPN and the Gainesville Sun newspaper say that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is either a.) interested in becoming the offensive coordinator for the University of Florida, or b.) has already committed to the job with the Gators.

The reports came out of the blue as the Chiefs wrapped up preparation for Sunday’s regular season finale against the Raiders. Head coach Todd Haley said “it would be news to me” about Weis and Florida.

“I’m unaware of anything,” Haley said after Friday’s practice. “Charlie was out there coaching today and we are getting ready to beat the Oakland Raiders.” …Read More!

Liberty Bowl – Georgia vs. Central Florida

  • Autozone Liberty Bowl
  • Liberty Bowl/Memphis, Tennessee
  • Friday/2:30 p.m. on ESPN


Best prospect: #8 WR A.J. Green, 6-3½, 212 pounds, 4.49 seconds, Junior – If he leaves school after the Liberty Bowl, he will be among the first five players selected in the 2011 NFL Draft and could even be the first man taken. Green started the season on a three-game suspension for selling his jersey. This season, he played in eight games and had 49 catches for 771 yards and nine TDs. Over three seasons and 31 games, he has 158 catches for 2,542 yards and 23 TDs. At this point, there’s no reason for Green to stay at Georiga. …Read More!

Sun Bowl – Notre Dame vs. Miami

  • Hyundai Sun Bowl
  • Sun Bowl/El Paso, Texas
  • Friday/1 p.m. on CBS

Notre Dame

Best prospect: #9 TE Kyle Rudolph, 6-5 ¾, 265 pounds, 4.64 seconds, Junior – Rudolph’s season ended back in the middle of October when he underwent surgery to repair a torn hamstring. It’s one of the few things that has slowed this guy down since he came in as a freshman and became an immediate starter for the Irish in ’08 with head coach Charlie Weis. He played just six games this season, catching 28 passes for 328 yards and three TDs. Over his 29-game career, he’s caught 90 passes for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns. …Read More!

Car Care Bowl – South Florida vs. Clemson

  • Meineke Car Care Bowl
  • Bank of America Stadium/Charlotte, N.C.
  • Friday/11 a.m. on ESPN

South Florida

Best prospect: #62 C Sampson Genus, 6-0¼, 316 pounds, 5.24 seconds, Senior – Co-captain of this year’s Bulls, Genus was named to the first-team All-Big East offense, after being named to the second team in the ’09 season. In his first two seasons, the Florida native was moved back and forth at least twice between defensive and offensive lines.

Best underclassmen prospect: #8 SS John Lejiste, 5-11, 202 pounds, 4.47 seconds, Redshirt-Sophomore – Active defender who has in 25 games already gotten the attention of scouts because of his speed and willingness to hit. Lejiste has 67 career tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also has an interception and two forced fumbles. …Read More!

Arrowhead Advantage? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

When the Chiefs have their practice on Friday, it will happen inside Arrowhead Stadium.

It would be much easier to stay at the team’s facility and walk out the backdoor and use the practices fields there. It would certainly be easier to just stay inside the building and use the indoor facility.

But all season, Todd Haley has been taking his team to Arrowhead on the Friday before home games. He calls it studying where the team is going to take the test.

It’s hard to argue with the results – the Chiefs are one of only two teams in the league that have not lost at home during the 2010 regular season (New England is the other team). They have the chance to make it 9-0 in the next nine days or so with the regular season finale and then a home game in the wildcard round of the AFC playoffs.

This comes after the team was 1-7 at Arrowhead during the 2009 season.

“I think it has helped our guys get really comfortable with the surroundings so on top of talking about it all the time which is one thing, we’ve gone up there and just tried to get more and more familiar with our home turf,” Haley said. “You do have an influx of new players that haven’t played there necessarily and I think that getting up there and practicing and spending time in and out of the locker room, on the field and off the field has been good for the guys and just helped with the comfort level.”

It is the comfort level that is why the home-field advantage is sought after. It’s especially one of those prizes that every team seeks when it comes to the playoffs. No matter the sport or the championship round, the goal is to stay home, and especially when it’s one game to play, not a series.

Find any Chiefs fan who was around for the 1990s and they know that having home-field advantage can be a mirage. …Read More!

Holiday Bowl – Washington vs. Nebraska

  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
  • Qualcomm Stadium/San Diego
  • Thursday/9 p.m. on ESPN


Best prospect: #10 QB Jake Locker, 6-2½, 230 pounds, 4.53 seconds, Redshirt-Senior – For the last two years, Locker was considered not only a first-round talent, but a top of the first round, even a top 10 prospect. But his senior season was not up to the level of his junior season and his stock has dropped. One game that hurt him was his performance against Nebraska the first time these teams played in the ’10 season. In that game, Locker was four of 20 for just 71 yards and two interceptions. This season, Locker has thrown for 2,209 yards 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Over his time with the Huskies, his career numbers in 39 games had 7,583 passing yards, 53 TDs and 35 INTs. He also ran for 1,856 yards and 28 touchdowns. Locker is a very good athlete and may also have a future in baseball. …Read More!

Music City Bowl – Tennessee vs. North Carolina

  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
  • LP Field/Nashville, Tennessee
  • Thursday/5:30 p.m. on ESPN


Best prospect: #88 TE Luke Stocker, 6-5, 253 pounds, 4.78 seconds, Redshirt-Senior - Over the last two years, Stocker has been the No. 1 tight end in Knoxville, a position that traditionally is a log jam of prospects in that program. This season in 12 games, he caught 34 passes for 359 yards and a touchdown, following his 29-catch, 389-yard season in ’09 when he had five touchdown catches. He has good hands and good feet, and that makes him a prospect as far as the NFL is concerned. …Read More!

Thursday 12/30 Practice Report-Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Should the Chiefs face any type of windy conditions in the playoffs, they can look back to their Thursday practice as a moment when they had to adapt.

Working outside in unexpected temperatures around 60 degrees, the Chiefs had to deal with a 24 mph wind blowing from the south that was sometimes gusting to 36 mph.

Not surprisingly, it’s the kind of day and wind that Todd Haley enjoys seeing his team work in for practice.

“As a former receivers coach these our days I really embraced,” Haley said. “When you get conditions like today you have to focus. You can get distracted by the wind blowing. Obviously It effects the passing game, catching the ball takes great focus and concentration. I always termed it a day you could get a lot better on. I feel like we did that on both sides of the ball.” …Read More!

Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas State vs. Syracuse

  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl/Yankee Stadium/New York, N.Y.
  • Thursday/2:20 p.m. on ESPN.
    Kansas State

Best prospect: #8 RB Daniel Thomas, 6-1 ½,228 pounds, 4.63 seconds, Senior – Thomas ran for 1,495 yards in ’10, including 269 yards on 36 carries against North Texas near the end of the season. He also caught 26 passes for 163 yards. This combined with his 1,275 rushing yards and 257 receiving yards from the ’09 season gives him 3,190 yards in offense for his two-year career at Bill Snyder U. Thomas joined the folks in Manhattan after playing JUCO ball in Mississippi. …Read More!

Change Pays For Bowe … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Outside the sun had gone down and it was a dark, winter’s night at the Truman Sports Complex.

Dwayne Bowe walked into the press room in the Chiefs facility wearing an AFC West champions hat and a smile. In the previous 24 hours he had been given a lot to smile about. First it was a spot on the AFC team for the Pro Bowl, the first time he’s received that honor in his four-year career. Next, word came Wednesday morning that Bowe had been named the AFC’s offensive player of the week for his performance against Tennessee last Sunday.

Bowe sat down and willingly submitted to a short interrogation about the honors that had come his way. His voice was barely above a whisper as he talked about the season and his transformation from troubled under-achiever, to productive Pro Bowler.

“This year as every game got bigger I thought about how last year started out,” Bowe said. “It brought back memories of being overweight and now I can run away from 4.3 cornerbacks. So it’s been some kind of year.”

His reference was to his 75-yard touchdown play against the Titans where Bowe outran the Tennessee secondary over 50 yards and scored untouched on the longest play of his career.   …Read More!

Armed Forces Bowl – Army vs. SMU

  • Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
  • Gerald J. Ford Stadium/Dallas
  • Thursday/ 11 a.m. on ESPN


Best prospect: #44 OLB Josh McNary, 5-11 ½, 235 pounds, 4.75 seconds, Senior – Playing rush end in Army’s double-eagle flex defense, McNary had 9.5 sacks during the ’10 season along with 12 tackles for loss. Against Rutgers in the ’10 season he had 2.5 sacks. Over his career, he’s Army’s leader in sacks with 27.5 and tackles for loss with 48.5. …Read More!

Bowe: “I Don’t Think It’s Hit Me Yet.”

From The Truman Sports Complex

There had been meetings, practice, a workout, more meetings, time in the trainer’s room and finally there was a moment to speak about the next surprising development in the life of Dwayne Bowe.

That would be the life of Pro Bowl WR Dwayne Bowe.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Bowe said of his joining the AFC team for the NFL’s all-star game at the end of January. “I’m just trying to win the next game. My family is excited about it, but I’m so close to that ultimate goal, I’m not even looking at that (the Pro Bowl.)

Bowe was one of four receivers named to the AFC team and one of three Chiefs, along with LG Brian Waters and RB Jamaal Charles. They will all get the chance to go to Hawaii and participate in Pro Bowl week and the game. It all goes down the week before the Super Bowl.

More with Bowe coming up in the morning Cup O’Chiefs.

Alamo Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Arizona

  • Valero Alamo Bowl/Alamodome/San Antonio, Texas
  • Wednesday/8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Oklahoma State

Best prospect: #24 RB Kendall Hunter, 5-8¼, 200 pounds, 4.48 seconds, Senior – When scouts see a healthy Hunter running the ball, they think of Baltimore Ravens’ RB Ray Rice. Short but powerful, Hunter had a big ’10 season and earned first-team AP All-America honors. He ran for 1,516 yards and led the conference with 126.3 yards per game. Hunter is fourth in rushing all-time for the Cowboys in a group that includes some rather stellar NFL backs like Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders. Over 44 games, he ran for 4,067 yards on 688 carries with 37 TD runs. He also caught 62 passes for 524 yards. …Read More!

Texas Bowl – Illinois vs. Baylor

  • Texas Bowl/Reliant Stadium/Houston
  • Wednesday/5 p.m. on ESPN


  • Best prospect: #2 ILB Martez Wilson, 6-4, 250 pounds, 4.59 seconds, Redshirt-Junior – Wilson is the man in the middle of the Illini’s much improved defense. He’s made a strong comeback after missing all but the season opener of the ’09 season due to a herniated disc in his neck. He suffered the injury against Missouri in the first game of the year. That earned him another year of eligibility, but he’s petitioned the NFL for a draft recommendation if he came out this season. So far this year, he’s had 105 total tackles, four sacks, one interception, four forced fumbles and four passes broken up. Wilson missed time in his sophomore season as he recovered from being stabbed. He has the size and speed to move outside if needed. …Read More!

Wednesday 12/29 Practice Report-Bowe Player of Week

From the Truman Sports Complex

It’s been a big two days for WR Dwayne Bowe. On Tuesday evening he found out he was named to the AFC team for the Pro Bowl. On Wednesday morning the league let the Chiefs know that Bowe was the AFC’s offensive player of the week.

Bowe’s performance against the Titans earned him the honor, as he caught 153 yards worth of passes, including a 75-yard touchdown play that was the longest catch of his four-year career. He becomes the first Kansas City wide receiver to receive the player of the week honor since J.J. Birden got it in the final week of the 1991 season. Joining Bowe and Birden among Chiefs receivers who have gotten the award are Henry Marshall (1984) and Stephone Paige (1985).

The Chiefs enjoy nearly balmy 43 degrees as they practiced Wednesday, beginning their preparation week for Sunday’s regular season finale against Oakland.

“We had a good day’s work,” said head coach Todd Haley. “It was a good football day today. We’ve got to use all the time allotted to stay focused and get to the goal at hand.”

That goal is to beat Oakland; Haley didn’t hesitate to say again that he planned to play the game just like the 15 previous games this season. …Read More!

Enrique’s Epics & Fails – Week #16

Same drill as last week, this is not. Instead, it will be more of the circular kind. We’ll begin with the good and we’ll finish up with the best, with the flaws in between. Only because I want to keep the feature interesting to the very end (although you probably know how this will conclude). So, without much further ado…




Back in April, :

Deion Sanders (asking Eric Berry):  “Kansas City – what should they expect?

What was Eric Berry’s response?: “Oh – they should expect everything. Expect a hard worker, a leader. Somebody that’s gonna represent on and off the field. Somebody who wants to win championships. Let’s go to work baby, I’m ready!”

Well, with his first INT return for a TD, Berry surely contributed to the attainment of the AFC Western crown, and that is one reason to be happy. What’s the other one (which by the way, happens to be the most intriguing)? He didn’t say championship, but CHAMPIONSHIPS. Consequently, don’t be surprised if the Chiefs make a long run in the post-season. The Tennessee product has proven that he can set his sights on the right direction, while backing up his talk.

…Read More!

Military Bowl – East Carolina vs. Maryland

  • Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
  • RFK Stadium/Washington, D.C.
  • Wednesday/1:30 p.m. on ESPN

 East Carolina

Best prospect: #38 CB Emanuel Davis, 5-10¾, 190 pounds, 4.46 seconds, Redshirt-Junior – The underclassmen has dealt with some shoulder problems, but when he’s been healthy Davis has been a big playmaker for the Pirates defense. His ’10 season did not quite match his ’09 season, when he had a career high 69 tackles, with two interceptions and 12 passes broken up. One of those INTs he returned for a TD, the second of his career. Overall in 38 games, he’s contributed 162 total tackles with seven interceptions and 29 passes broken up. …Read More!

All Things Chiefs Considered … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

So much ground to cover these days with the Chiefs closing out the regular season and then heading to the playoffs. There’s a lot to write about … here it comes.


The Chiefs put three players on the AFC team for the Pro Bowl, about what we could have expected going into the voting. LG Brian Waters, WR Dwayne Bowe and RB Jamaal Charles are all deserving candidates.

So were RG Ryan Lilja, QB Matt Cassel, CB Brandon Flowers, ILB Derrick Johnson and OLB Tamba Hali (above). The rosters for the all-star game are not set in stone and with the game the week before the Super Bowl, those players selected from the teams participating in the championship game must be replaced. Say Atlanta (seven) and New England (six) are playing at Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas for the league title. That’s 13 players that must be replaced.

By the time the shuffling is done, I would expect at least one more member of the Chiefs to be selected, probably Cassel. …Read More!

Waters, Bowe, & Charles To Pro Bowl

Last year, a 4-12 season did not produce a single member of the Chiefs in the Pro Bowl.

This year, thanks to a 10-5 record and an AFC West title three members of the Chiefs offense are headed Hawaii for the NFL’s annual all-star game.

LG Brian Waters, WR Dwayne Bowe and RB Jamaal Charles were selected in voting by fellow players, coaches and the fans for the AFC team. They are all backups.

For Waters this is his fifth appearance in the Pro Bowl, as he was selected in the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 seasons.

Bowe and Charles are making their first appearances in the game. Bowe is the Chiefs first wide receiver to appear on the AFC team since Andre Rison in 1997. Charles follows in the footsteps of Priest Holmes (2001-03), Tony Richardson (2003-04) and Larry Johnson (2005-06).

The game will return to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu this year, after being played in south Florida last January. It’s scheduled for January 30, the Sunday before the Super Bowl in Dallas.

Here’s the AFC team (starters in bold): …Read More!

ANSWER BOB – 12/27

MattMac44 says: Bob – Did you see the replay on the penalty during the Lewis interception? I am all about protecting the QB, but the call on Shaun Smith was ridiculous.

Bob says: Matt – it wasn’t much of a penalty and I think it was really directed more at LB Jovan Belcher who also got his hand up around the face mask of QB Kerry Collins. They are always going to work hard to protect the quarterback. Sometimes they go too far in calling the ticky-tack stuff and I would say this play was nothing serious for Collins.


Bill says: Bob, were you around after the game? Did any players stay after the game and watch the Chargers? If so what was the atmosphere like?

Bob says: Bill, I was in the Arrowhead Stadium press box with all the other media scum until about 8 o’clock Sunday night. Within an hour of the game being over just about every player was out the door and gone. I’m sure some of them wound up at somebody’s house or a bar/restaurant. When Todd Haley finally got on the phone and spoke about being division champs, it sounded like he’d been celebrating a bit. …Read More!

Insight Bowl – Missouri vs. Iowa

  • Insight Bowl/Sun Devil Stadium/Tempe, Arizona
  • Tuesday/9 p.m. on ESPN


Best prospect: #85 DE Aldon Smith, 6-4¼, 258 pounds, 4.69 seconds, Redshirt-Sophomore – Yes, he’s got just two years of college football under his belt, but Smith has displayed some traits that make him the type of player the NFL would like to get their hands on now. He’s relentless as a pass rusher and has quickness, speed and long arms that can help him overcome a blocker’s leverage. Smith missed three games this year with a broken fibula, but has come back strong. Over 22 games with Mizzou, the Raytown High product has 108 total tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, seven passes broken up, one interception and a forced fumble. He’s filed with the NFL for a projection on where he would be drafted. …Read More!

Champs Sports Bowl – West Virginia vs. N.C. State

  • Champs Sports Bowl/Florida Citrus Bowl/Orlando
  • Tuesday/5:30 p.m. on ESPN

 West Virginia

Best prospect: #7 RB Noel Devine, 5-7¾, 180 pounds, 4.34 seconds, Senior – A foot injury slowed Devine down during the ’10 season but he remained one of the most productive backs in college football over the last four seasons. The diminutive Devine in 50 games ran for 4,267 yards on 721 carries with 29 TD runs. He also caught 94 passes for 689 yards and two scores. The Florida native had a troubled childhood as both of his parents died from complications related to AIDs and he ended up living with the family of a Pop Warner teammate. At one point, Deion Sanders tried to adopt him, but Devine eventually left Sanders home in Texas and returned to Florida. His body and skills make him a Darren Sproles clone. …Read More!

Starting Fast & Right … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

The goal of every football team is to start fast.

Some teams are better at making it happen than others, but the goal for all teams is the same – come out strong, put points on the board early and try to control the momentum of the game.

That’s what the Chiefs did on Sunday in beating Tennessee by 20 points. They came out fast and quick and strong and they scored points on their first four possessions. That’s something they had not done during the 2010 season.

The key was their first chance with the football, when they opened the game with one of the best drives of the season. There have been other possessions that produced touchdowns on long yardage drives with many plays. But few were planned and as well executed as the opening drive against the Titans.

From head coach Todd Haley, through offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to quarterback Matt Cassel – these guys were on the mark and they got a lot of help from an offense that at times can be downright explosive. Led by Cassel, they methodically ripped apart the Titans defense before the visitors knew what happened to them.

“The coaches did a great job putting together a plan to start the game,” said Cassel. “Everybody executed well, we were very efficient, it was run and pass and we gave them different looks. We just stepped up and it was a great start for us.” …Read More!

The Numbers – Game No. 15 Edition

Obviously, the operative number here is 10 wins.

That clinches the AFC West title for the Chiefs and a home playoff game. There has been some tendency on a national – and to some extent local – level to downgrade the Chiefs accomplishment because they played the weaker schedule of a last-place team from 2009. Let’s put that into perspective.

Since the NFL divided into eight divisions, four in each conference, the schedule is more balanced. After the AFC West teams play six games (home and home against each of the other three), they play eight games against identical opponents.

This year that meant the NFC West and AFC South. Thus every AFC West team played San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Arizona, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Houston.

As the AFC West’s fourth-place finisher last season, the Chiefs drew the fourth-place teams in the other two AFC Divisions. For the Chiefs that was Cleveland and Buffalo. The Chargers played New England and Cincinnati; Oakland got Pittsburgh and Miami and Denver played Baltimore and the Jets.

Clearly the Chiefs got the best of these matchups, and they won games against Cleveland and Buffalo – neither of which had a winning record. No one else in the AFC West won a game against the non-common opponents. …Read More!

NFL Week #16 Best



  • 99 – Oakland WR Jacoby Ford kickoff return for TD vs. Indianapolis (L).
  • 85 – N.Y. Giants WR Mario Manningham TD catch vs. Green Bay (L).
  • 84 – St. Louis WR Danny Amendola kickoff return vs. Seattle (W).
  • 80 – Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson TD catch vs. N.Y. Giants (W).
  • 79 – Tampa Bay WR Michael Spurlock kickoff return vs. Seattle (W).
  • 78 – San Francisco WR Ted Ginn punt return TD vs. St. Louis (L).
  • 75 – Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe TD catch (right) vs. Tennessee (W).
  • 74 – Arizona WR Andre Roberts TD catch vs. Dallas (W).
  • 66 – Arizona CB Greg Toler INT return for TD vs. Dallas (W).
  • 64 – San Francisco P Andy Lee punt vs. St. Louis (L).


  • 164 – Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount on 18 carries vs. Seattle (W).
  • 113 – Chicago RB Matt Forte on 19 carries, 1 TD vs. N.Y. Jets (W).
  • 204 – New England RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis on 19 carries vs. Buffalo (W).

…Read More!

Independence Bowl: Air Force vs. Georgia Tech


Air Force

Best prospect: #8 CB Reggie Rembert, 5-7 ½, 185 pounds, 4.46 seconds, Senior – In the last two seasons, Rembert has earned a first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors, on top of honorable mention designation as a sophomore. He’s been one of the better defensive players in the conference over his four seasons, with nine interceptions, 153 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 16 passes broken up and five fumble recoveries. At various times he also handled punt and kickoff returns. …Read More!

AFC Picture For Playoffs

Whether or not Todd Haley and his team want to use the “p” word, the post-season is coming to Arrowhead Stadium.

The question is what uniforms will they wear when they come down the tunnel onto the playing surface. Will they be the green of the Jets, the purple of the Ravens, maybe the black of the Steelers? Any of those three are possible opponents for the Chiefs.

Along with the Chiefs, Baltimore and the New York Jets clinched spots in the playoffs. With New England and Pittsburgh already in, that leaves only the AFC South to be decided.

That’s just in the AFC, and there’s a host of other scenarios going on in the NFC. The league is also changing the start times of six games, with the St. Louis at Seattle game going to Sunday Night Football on NBC. Both the Jacksonville at Houston and the Tennessee at Indianapolis games will start at 3:15 p.m. Over in the NFC, the Chicago-Green Bay, Dallas-Philadelphia and N.Y. Giants-Washington games will all start at 3:15 p.m.

Here’s how everything breaks down in the AFC:

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE – One thing they know for sure, they will not face New England in the first round. The Patriots 34-3 victory over Buffalo gave them the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and a first-round bye.

WHO WINS THE AFC SOUTH – Indianapolis will return to the tournament with a victory over Tennessee. If they lose to the Titans and the Jaguars beat the Texans, then Jacksonville is in the playoffs and the Colts go home.

WHO WINS THE AFC NORTH – Pittsburgh and Baltimore are both 11-4, The Steelers control their own destiny and a victory at Cleveland gives them the AFC North because they would have a superior division record over Baltimore in any tie-breaker scenario. The Ravens host Cincinnati.

WHAT ABOUT THE SEEDS? – New England is No. 1. Either Pittsburgh or Baltimore will be No. 2 and No. 5. The New York Jets are No. 6. Right now the Chiefs are No. 3, with the Colts-Jaguars at No. 4. However, if the Chiefs lose to Oakland and the Colts win, then Indy would be No. 3 and the Chiefs No. 4.

OK, SO WHO DO THE CHIEFS PLAY? – Here are the scenarios, although nothing is definite and there are trap doors galore if the Jets should win and both Pittsburgh and Baltimore should lose and they are all tied at 11-5:

  • If Chiefs beat Oakland, they’ll likely play the Jets.
  • If they lose to the Raiders and the Colts win the South, the Chiefs will probably face Baltimore or Pittsburgh.
  • If they lose to the Raiders and the Jaguars win the AFC South, the Chiefs would again likely face the Jets.

AFC West Look – 12/26

They were once invincible in December.

But the Super in December San Diego Chargers met their kryptonite on Sunday in Cincinnati.

How about 29 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill making it feel like 17 degrees. A dose of cold weather and the Cincinnati Bengals combined to crush the hopes of the Chargers making another December comeback. The Bengals 34-20 victory ended San Diego’s run as AFC West champions. They had won four division titles in a row, and five of the last six.

But they will watch the Chiefs in the playoffs this January, after finishing up their season in Denver against the Broncos. San Diego is now 8-7.

The Raiders also had a slight hope, but that went out the door with their 31-26 loss to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. They finish the season at Arrowhead Stadium against the Chiefs. Oakland is 7-8.

Denver had no hope, but they rose up and beat the Houston Texans 24-23 behind QB Tim Tebow. They’ll host the Chargers to end the year. They are 4-11.

Bengals 34, Chargers 20 @ Paul Brown Stadium

“Words can’t really explain how we feel right now,” Chargers safety Eric Weddle said. “Our season is done. It’s probably the worst feeling you can have.”

San Diego waited too long to get moving this season and December losses to Oakland and Cincinnati were too much in the effort to overcome the poor start of their season. It didn’t’ help that it was cold in Cincinnati, 29 degrees at the kickoff with a wind chill of 17. It was the coldest game for the Chargers since the AFC title game loss they suffered in New England in the 2007 playoffs.

The cold was a factor. WR Vincent Jackson fumbled a handoff on an end-around on San Diego’s opening play and chased it all the way back to the one-yard line. The series ended with P Mike Scifres shanking a 24-yard kick. Five plays later, Palmer threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham.

Palmer ended up throwing four TD passes against the Chargers defense.

Colts 31, Raiders 26 @ Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

When Jacoby Ford returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, it seemed to portend a long afternoon for Manning and the Colts in the Bay Area.

But it’s a run to the playoffs and Indy does not miss post-season action. They needed a pair of victories in their final games and that was their focus, one that Ford couldn’t break with his great return. Manning threw three TD passes and got help from his defense that allowed only a single Oakland TD on offense, that at the end of the game.

The Raiders managed only 80 rushing yards, with RB Darren McFadden gaining just 45 on 11 carries. QB Jason Campbell threw for 231 yards, but the speedy Oakland receivers group was held in check with only one receptions going for more than 20 yards.

Manning threw a pair of interceptions, but he also connected on TD passes with Pierre Garcon, Blair White and Jacob Tamme.

Broncos 24, Texans 23 @ Invesco Field

As the Broncos left the field at half-time of their game against the Texans down 17-0, the Denver faithful booed them. Unhappy with the season, not pleased with conservative play calling, the smallest crowd to watch a game at the stadium since it opened let everyone hear their displeasure.

But the Broncos didn’t go in the tank. With Tebow starting for the first time at home, it was his six-yard scramble with three minutes to play that ended the comeback from 17 points down at the half.

“Things weren’t going well early, but we kept fighting, kept believing in each other,” Tebow said.

He completed 16 of 29 passes for 308 yards, one TD and an interception. He also ran the ball 10 times for 27 yards.

“I’ve never seen a winner lose. He’s a winner,” said Denver CB Champ Bailey. “I expect him to win a lot of games as a pro quarterback.”

Cassel, Then Croyle, Then Cassel?

From Arrowhead Stadium

One of the more unusual moments of the season came near the end of the third quarter and it involved the head coach and his top two quarterbacks.

The Chiefs took over at their 49-yard line and Thomas Jones ran for one-yard.

That’s when Todd Haley called Matt Cassel to the sidelines and sent Brodie Croyle into the game. It wasn’t like Croyle had been warming up, and Cassel wasn’t injured.

So what was up?

“I have great respect for the Tennessee Titans,” said Haley. “It was not a situation here we thought we had the game in hand or anything like that. It was a strategic area that we had to get cleaned up. I’ve got complete faith in Brodie and it didn’t hurt to get him a little playing time in there.

“We just had to get something cleaned up strategically with Matt that we didn’t get done during the change of possession. There was a fairly quick turnover, so Brodie got some snaps.”

Huh? “Cleaned up strategically?”

OK, so let’s see if Cassel can shed any light on the subject.

“Coach made the decision we needed to fix a few things on the sideline so he brought me off and we talked,” Cassel said.

Talked about what?

“I don’t want to get into specifics right now about what we were going over and all of that. He wanted to talk about a few specific things, talking about things I was going to do when I went back in.”

There’s only one problem with that scenario – Cassel and Haley barely talked when he was off the field for two plays and the timeout when the third quarter ended. The quarterback looked like he was pleading his case to assistant head coach Maurice Carthon. The only time he was within conversation distance with Haley came when the coach was talking to Croyle between quarters.

OK, so Brodie what was the story there?

“He told me to go in,” Croyle said. “I did.”

But why did the coach put you in?

“You’ve got to ask him,” Croyle said.

So Croyle got two snaps. He completed a pass to FB Tim Castille that lost two yards, and then on the first play of the fourth quarter, his pass to WR Dwayne Bowe was tipped by Bowe and intercepted by LB Will Witherspoon. That left Croyle with one of the ugliest statistical lines possible in the NFL: one of two for minus-2 yards and an interception. That’s a 16.7 passer rating.

Notes: Titans Impressed With Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Tennessee Titans had only the slightest chance of making the AFC playoffs coming into Kansas City for Sunday’s game.

Once the first quarter was over, their chances were gone dashed by the Chiefs 24-0 jump out of the blocks and ultimately a 34-14 defeat for the guys from Tennessee.

“The game got out of reach early,” said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. “You’ve got to execute near perfection when you get down where we were and we just didn’t do that. We got beat today by a good football team, a well-coached football team. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to keep this game close.”

Now 6-9 on the season, the game’s outcome assured them of a losing season as they close out their schedule this Sunday against Indianapolis.

“When it finally hits you that you are out of the playoffs, it’s extremely disappointing you know,” said Titans QB Kerry Collins. “Everybody’s worked hard, everybody has put the effort it. When you come up short it’s very difficult to take.”

The Titans came in with designs on stopping the Chiefs running game, but that did not happen.

“They’re really good,” said MLB Stephen Tulloch. “I told Brian Waters at the end of the game they have come a long way since I have been playing them. I’ve played them three times in five years. That team has turned around. The head coach there has done a great job. They’re a sound team, a solid team and they did a good job today. They executed the way they have executing all season. You have to take your hat off to them.”


The Chiefs got the game on local television and that helped keep the in-stadium crowd down as it was one of the smallest crowds of the season. The team announced 65,606 paid attendance but as has been the case all year, it wasn’t close to having that many butts in the seats. Every section had empties. If the crowd topped 50,000 it wasn’t by much.

Considering the weather, that’s not hard to believe. It was 19 degrees at kickoff, with the wind chill factor at 10 degrees. In the second half, the skies cleared and the sun was shining a bit, but it wasn’t enough to warm anybody up.

But those that were there made some noise and the Titans had several false start penalties. They certainly got a good show, and so did everybody sitting at home where they were warm.


It was in many ways the Chiefs best performance in some aspects of the kicking game in some time. Coverage was outstanding, as was punter Dustin Colquitt.

“That was one of the keys to this game for us going in,” said Todd Haley. “We wanted to be real good on special teams and feel like we won on special teams. I feel like we did that when it was all said and done.”

Here’s how it broke down:

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop dribbled some, boomed some and when it was all done, he kicked off seven times, including once from his own 15-yard line when the Chiefs were paying for an excessive celebration penalty that came up in the end zone after Dwayne Bowe’s 75-yard TD run. Tennessee started their possessions on the 32, 24, 27, 45, 31, 39 and 31-yard lines.

PUNTS – Colquitt kicked five times for a 46.4 average. His punts went for 43, 56, 49, 54, 30 yards. His net average was 42.2 yards.

RETURNS – On punt returns, Javier Arenas had five for 36 yards in returns, a 7.2-yard average. He did break one for 29 yards. On kickoff returns, Dexter McCluster had three for a total of 50 yards, a sickly 16.7-yard average. His longest return was 26 yards.

COVERAGE – The Chiefs did an outstanding job keeping Titans returner Marc Mariani tied up. He had three punt returns for a total of one yard. He continued to refuse to call for a fair catch and he was hit hard three times and immediately taken down. On seven kickoff returns, Mariani and Ahmard Hall averaged 17 yards a return. Mariani broke one for 38 yards that was it.

TACKLERS – WR Verran Tucker had another big day in the kicking game, making three tackles and leading the team. LB Demorrio Williams and FB Tim Castille contributed two tackles each. LB Cory Greenwood, WR Terrance Copper and S Ricky Price had the other tackles.


Funny thing about the afternoon at Arrowhead – fans came to see football and a hockey game broke out. Scott Green and his crew were firing yellow hankies all day and they were especially active when calling personal foul penalties.

Yes, things got chippy at times. That’s something the Titans do all the time and they dragged the Chiefs into the gutter with them.

In total there were 16 penalties walked off, with another eight penalties that were declined or offsetting. Eight of those calls were personal fouls for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct that drew 15 yards. Seven of those were walked off. The big culprits were on the Titans offensive line as RT David Stewart was flagged three times including twice for unnecessary roughness. RG Jake Scott was a culprit as well.

Here’s what the Chiefs were flagged for on those seven calls; two players were not identified by referee Green on their infractions:

  1. Defense     Jon McGraw    unnecessary roughness        minus-15
  2. Offense    ?        false start            minus-5
  3. Offense    ?        unnecessary roughness        minus-15
  4. Offense    Jamaal Charles    unsportsmanlike conduct    minus-15
  5. Offense    B. Richardson    false start            minus-5
  6. Defense    Shaun Smith    unnecessary roughness        minus-15
  7. Defense    Jovan Belcher    roughing the passer        minus-15


The Chiefs inactive players were DB Donald Washington, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger, DT Anthony Toribio and WR Quinten Lawrence.  Tyler Palko is the inactive third QB.

The Titans inactive players were S Vincent Fuller, S Robert Johnson, LB David Thornton, OL Troy Kropog, DE Hal Davis, DT Jovan Haye and WR Lavelle Hawkins. Rusty Smith is the inactive third QB.

Over the weekend, the Chiefs made a roster move, promoting Lawrence from the practice squad and releasing CB Mike Richardson. Why they then didn’t have Lawrence active for the game doesn’t make sense.

Chiefs Win Game & Division – They Rule The AFC West

From Arrowhead Stadium

There was no doubt which team was ready for Sunday’s game. The Chiefs came out fast and furious and dominated the Tennessee Titans, winning 34-14, grabbing their 10th victory of the season.

And then three hours later in Cincinnati, the Bengals shocked the San Diego Chargers with a 34-20 outcome that made the Chiefs the 2010 AFC West champions.

Their victory and the Chargers loss gave them their first division title since 2003 and they’ll play their first post-season game since 2006. Oh yeah, they’ll also have their first home game in the playoffs since ’03.

The Chiefs scored on their first four offensive possessions as QB Matt Cassel threw three touchdown passes, two of those to RB Jamaal Charles. The third was a 75-yard pass and run score to WR Dwayne Bowe.

Defensively, the Chiefs had a pair of interceptions, including one by SS Eric Berry that he returned for a touchdown. They kept Titans RB Chris Johnson under wraps, as he never got going in the offense. They also sacked Tennessee QB Kerry Collins three times.

There’s plenty to cover from this cold afternoon. Here it is:

  • GAME STORY: Chiefs take care of business in beating Titans.
  • COLUMN: Chiefs found the right path.
  • SIDEBAR: Todd Haley enjoys the division title.
  • SIDEBAR: Cassel to Croyle to Cassel?
  • SIDEBAR: Defense shuts down Chris Johnson.
  • SIDEBAR: Jamaal Charles stars as receiver.
  • SIDEBAR: Eric Berry’s first NFL TD
  • NOTES: Titans impressed with Chiefs.
  • REPORT CARD: High marks across the board.
  • AFC WEST LOOK: No longer invincible Chargers.

REPORT CARD: Chiefs vs. Titans

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – With 152 yards, the Chiefs finished below their season average against the Titans. They got 94 of those yards in the first half when they were opening up the big lead on the Titans. In the second half, they managed just 58 yards even though they were trying to kill the clock with the running game. Thomas Jones got a lot of work, but his 23 carries produced just 51 yards.

PASSING OFFENSE: A – QB Matt Cassel came out on fire and he pushed the offense down the field for touchdowns in three of their first four possessions. Cassel hit 12 of his first 13 throws and 15 of his first 17 with three touchdowns. WR Dwayne Bowe got involved early and that made all the difference in the world as he ended up catching six passes for 153 yards, with 75 coming on a TD play. Eight different Chiefs caught passes in this game. Protection was pretty good, as Cassel went down just once.

RUSH DEFENSE: A – Chris Johnson is one of the NFL’s best running backs and the Chiefs were determined to make his day as difficult as possible. They succeeded in doing that. With no other RB even getting the ball, Johnson got just 58 yards on 14 carries. He got loose twice for 17-yard gains, but that was the only dents in the Chiefs run defense.

PASS DEFENSE: B – If the Chiefs can figure out how to stop giving up huge scoring plays, the defense will soon be ranked among the top 10 units in the league. They allowed WR Kenny Britt to get free for a 53-yard touchdown and for some reason they could not cover TE Jared Cook, who burned them for five catches, 96 yards and a touchdown. Cook came into the game with only 17 catches in the first 14 games. The pass rush got to Collins three times for sacks and they were credited with three other QB hits.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B –There’s still not enough coming out of the return game, although Javier Arenas did break a punt return for 29 yards. But where this unit stood out was on handling Tennessee returner Marc Mariani. He’s the only guy in the NFL who has taken both a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns this season. Against the Chiefs, he had three punt returns for one yard and five kickoff returns for 98 yards. He got loose just once, and that was for 38 yards.

COACHING: B – Overall, the Chiefs had solid game plans in all three phases of the game, especially with the defense and Romeo Crennel. The offense’s first few possession were a great blend of play calls by coordinator Charlie Weis. There were not many major decisions for Todd Haley to make during the game.

Berry Christmas As Eric Finds End Zone

From Arrowhead Stadium

Every week head coach Todd Haley selects a sixth captain for the game. There are five permanent captains and then the coach’s choice. A lot of thought goes into Haley’s pick each week, because he believes it’s quite an honor for any player to represent his team.

For Sunday’s day after Christmas game, Haley picked SS Eric Berry. Why No. 29? Well, there was the Tennessee connection with the Titans playing in the same state as Berry’s alma mater at the University of Tennessee. Then, there was the fact that Haley had not yet selected a rookie for the designation.

“We haven’t had a young guy and these guys are not rookies anymore,” said Haley. “We’ve taken that label off them. It’s a big honor for those guys that we give it too.”

Haley’s picking prowess showed itself as Berry went out and got his first NFL touchdown, taking back an interception 54 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. It helped the Chiefs build a big first-half lead and they cruised to a 34-14 victory over the Titans.

“I think pressure definitely made that play,” Berry said of the throw from Titans QB Kerry Collins that was affected by the Chiefs pass rush. “The D-line got some pressure. Right after they caused the pressure, they turned around and started blocking. I just followed them. They always tell me to follow them when I get an interception, so that’s what I did. After I caught it, my offensive instincts clicked in and I went to the house.”

Berry did not run into the end zone – he leaped head-first like he was jumping into a swimming pool.

“It was just spur of the moment,” Berry said. “I just kind of dove in there. I wish I didn’t do it. The end zone felt like a tennis court.”

It was an active game for Berry. He was around the line of scrimmage a lot, as the Chiefs worked to limit the running lanes for Tennessee RB Chris Johnson. He also got a chance to rush the passer, something that is popping up more and more in the Romeo Crennel defense.

“We did a lot of it this week,” said Berry. “I like going after the quarterback. We got some pressure on the quarterback and got him kind of rattled.”

Before the game, it was Berry and his fellow rookie safety Kendrick Lewis that were in the locker room, firing up the team emotionally. Or, that’s what veteran WR Chris Chambers said.

“This late in the year is the time when the veterans are supposed to be carrying the young guys through the season,” said Chambers. “These young guys are carrying us. They really got us fired up.”

Said Berry: “Me and Kendrick, we are pretty vocal; we love this game. We are very enthusiastic. We are not going to hold it in. We have something to say and we were going to say it. We just wanted to get the energy up and I guess it worked.”

Charles Gets It Done As Receiver

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley likes to talk about how his players’ ability to understand their roles has been a big factor in the success of the Chiefs in the 2010 season.

That’s especially true with Jamaal Charles. He knows what his job is.

“My role is to make plays, to get the ball in my hands and move,” Charles said Sunday, after the Chiefs had beaten the Tennessee Titans 34-14. “I think I can do that a lot of different ways.”

Charles has shown that over his three-year career. He’s made big plays as a runner, receiver and returner. Sunday against the Titans, it was as a receiver where he shined. Charles caught four passes for 40 yards, but two of those went for touchdowns.

“I’ve always been catching the ball out of the backfield,” said Charles. “It’s just today that I was more in the game plan as a receiver. I just wanted to make plays. I just went and made plays for my team.”

As a receiver this season, Charles has caught 43 passes for 455 yards and now three touchdowns. That ranks him third on the team in catches and yards, behind only WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki.

For his career, he now has 110 catches for 1,024 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

“Jamaal has continued to grow in the passing game the entire year,” said QB Matt Cassel. “Today was a great example of that. If you can get him the ball in some space, he does some great things. It increases your stats and your passing yards, you’ve got to love that; throw him a short pass and let him do all the work.

“He continues to grow as a player. He keeps getting better and better.”

The yards were hard to come by on the ground against Tennessee, as the Titans were determined to clog the box. That’s why the Chiefs used so many formations where a tight end was lined up as a wide receiver. The idea is simple – get that safety or linebacker out of the box and covering the tight end.

Charles ended up with 77 yards on 13 carries. That gives him 1,380 yards on the season. Combined with his receiving, that’s a contribution of 1,835 offensive yards this season on 259 touches. That’s 7.1 yards every time he touches the ball.

That’s what makes him so vital to the Chiefs offense, and why teams like the Titans come in trying to shut down the running game.

“The main objective with them being the leading rushing team was to slow them down and for the most part, we did so,” said Titans MLB Stephen Tulloch. “They had a couple of plays here and there in the air. They made big plays and they jumped out early and they held their own.”

Another way to open up those running lanes is to get Charles involved out of the backfield catching the football.

“I always thought Jamaal had good hands and natural receiver skills,” said Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. “It’s more about Jamaal being able to handle all facets of the position; being a running back in this league is a difficult job. Backs and tight ends have to transition between run and pass and that adds in a whole bunch of factors that can affect you.

“Jamaal has been getting a better and better grasp of his role on this team. Jamaal has a big role on this team. He does a number of different things for this team. He understands his role.”

He sure does. His role is to make things happen.

“I just want to go out and make plays,” Charles said. “That’s what I do for this team. I want to be great. I don’t want to be average. I want to go out there and do things right, pick up the blitzes, run the ball, catch the ball out of the backfield and whatever the coach asks you to do, go out there and execute it.”

Haley: “We Get To Enjoy This For 24 Hours”

It was just after 7 o’clock Sunday night when Todd Haley was on the phone and speaking with the media as the head coach of the 2010 AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs.

“Today was a good day,” Haley said. “It was our primary goal, that gives you a chance to get into the mix and obviously once you are in there, you never know what can happen. Today that came to fruition. It’s good for everybody involved. This is a day to enjoy and feel good about ourselves.”

Haley was at home, trying to watch the San Diego-Cincinnati game but was having trouble getting more than a play or two before being interrupted by children, his five and a visiting niece.

“This is my family time and I got to see a couple plays,” Haley said. “My wife’s sister came to town with my niece and people were going crazy around the house. But when my phone started ringing I knew good things were happening.”

The good thing was the Bengals victory over the Chargers that clinched the division title, something that came a bit faster than even Haley would have predicted.  

“You set your expectations high and you work hard and you push people to their limits,” Haley said. “Through experience I have learned you can get things going at least in the right direction. For us to get to this spot this quick is really great. I can’t say it was necessarily expected, I knew were had a lot of work to do, and I don’t think we are there yet. When you do have success and good things happen, it speeds the process a little bit. We still have our issues and things that we have to continue to work on.

“I don’t think anything has changed for us as a team. We have to try to get better every day that will give us our best chance.”

How the Chiefs will approach a now meaningless game against the Raiders is something that Haley and his staff will discuss Monday morning. But don’t expect them to do anything but prepare to win the game. “With our team and what we are trying to get done, our goal is to get to three wins in the fourth quarter of the season,” Haley said. “We’ll get back to work and try to get that done.”

As far as the once banned “p” word – playoffs, Haley made it clear it wasn’t going to be a regular part of his vocabulary:

“You can say whatever you want, but I probably won’t say it a whole bunch.”

No Bongos On This Day For CJ2K

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was two years ago that Tennessee RB Chris Johnson roared into Kansas City as the NFL surprise back of the 2008 season. A late first-round draft choice out of East Carolina, the man who would eventually become CJ2K was barely a blip.

But on that day Johnson ran through the Chiefs defense with surprising ease. He finished the game with 168 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run that ended up with him jumping into the end zone band pit of the TD Pack Band and playing the bongos.

Two years ago is a long-time in the life of this rebuilding franchise. But there were men on the field who had felt the flames of the torching the Chiefs defense received that day. NT Ron Edwards, DE Glenn Dorsey, LBs Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson and CBs Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr were all on the field that day.

In case they had forgotten, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel had a special tape for them to view Saturday night at the team hotel – the game tape of that contest.

“We watched it last night,” Dorsey said. “We all remembered it, but seeing it again just made it something more.”

The defensive plan was simple – stop Johnson and put the ball in the hands of QB Kerry Collins. This time, the Chiefs defense got it done and got it done good. Johnson was a non-factor, finishing the game with 14 carries for 58 yards. He did not catch a pass.

Fourteen carries for 58 yards, with two runs of 17 yards each. That means the other 12 carries went for 24 yards.

No bongos on this afternoon for Johnson.

“It’s always disappointing when you are not able to run the ball,” said Johnson. “You’re not able to get the touches, any time you get down like that. There is not much you can do. Anytime you go down by that many points it’s going to be hard to have a big day.”

It was hard for Johnson because the Chiefs worked hard at sealing the running lanes and forcing him to run east and west along the line of scrimmage, rather than north and south. Twice he broke free and showed the speed that was worth over 2,000 yards last season.

“The credit has to go to the guys up front,” said Derrick Johnson. “They were able to push the line and it forced him to go sideways and we were able to get out and get him.”

Half of Johnson’s carries went for one-yard or less. He was stopped for minus yardage twice.

“We had to contain him and not let him get to the second level,” said SS Eric Berry, who had four tackles on the day along with an interception return TD. “The play was to make sure that he didn’t get outside and wasn’t able to use his feet. We tried to shut him down early and force them to pass. I think it worked out pretty good.”

Especially when the offense went out and scored on its first four possessions, that put Tennessee in the catch up mode right from the first quarter on.

With few chances and little room to run, Johnson was a non-factor.

“Did you notice that every time he got the ball, everyone was jumping on him,” said DL Shaun Smith. “We knew that when this back gets going, what type of back he is. We stopped his momentum and they brought in the other back to try and get something going and that still didn’t work.”

It was an outcome that certainly was better than what those holdovers from ’08 saw of Johnson.

“No more bongos for him,” said Dorsey. “We weren’t going to let him beat on us this time. That’s for sure.”

Playoff Tickets On Sale Monday

The Kansas City Chiefs will put tickets to their home game in the AFC playoffs on sale Monday.

The game will be either Saturday, January 8 or Sunday, January 9. The NFL will decide the date and time once the field for the playoffs is set.

The Chiefs will offer a pre-sale to Jackson County taxpayers.  Tickets may be purchased in person at the Arrowhead Stadium ticket office on the northwest side of the stadium from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. No phone orders will be accepted for this pre-sale.
Jackson County taxpayers must have proof of property ownership to purchase tickets, that would include a valid government issued photo identification  and a personal or business personal or real property tax receipt. For businesses, a current copy of the employee identification for the person making the purchase must be included.  A  random number distribution system will be used, so there is no need for camping out or spending hours in line. Numbers will be distributed one hour before tickets go on sale. The complete random number distribution policy is posted at the team’s website.

The general public sale of tickets begins at 5 p.m. on Monday.  Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster by phone at (800)745-3000, in person at any Ticketmaster outlet or at the Arrowhead ticket office. The office will be open until 8:00 p.m. on Monday.

Chiefs Handle Titans, Become AFC West Champs

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs took care of their business on Sunday.

Then, the Cincinnati Bengals took care of the rest of the Chiefs’ business three hours later.

The combination of the Chiefs 34-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans, with the Bengals 34-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers and the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs are champions of the AFC West and headed to the conference playoffs for the first time since 2006.

In grabbing their first division title since 2003, the Chiefs moved their record to 10-5 with just one game left to play. After losing in Cincinnati, the Chargers are 8-7 and their four-year run as division champions is over.

“Obviously it’s a big step for us as a team,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We went into this game with the sole purpose of trying to play better than the Tennessee Titans. At home in front of our crowd and we were able to do that. It was far from perfect. I’m really happy for the guys and the energy and enthusiasm in how they played. Their focus was really good.”

The Chiefs did not walk on the field thinking about ending the race for the division championship. The “p” word as Haley had called it – playoffs – was banned from the facility over the last week. They went out with the idea of beating the Titans and then seeing what happened with the Chargers. Even right after the game, Haley said he wasn’t rooting for the Bengals; he was rooting for his team. If it meant playing the Raiders next Sunday for the division crown, they were more than willing to do it.

To make sure they took care of their business, the Chiefs came firing out of the blocks in what was certainly the best first quarter and a half that they’ve played this season. They scored on all of their first four possessions as QB Matt Cassel was hot, and so were RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe as receivers. SS Eric Berry returned an interception for a touchdown and save for giving up one long pass play that the Titans scored on, the Chiefs won all the battles in the first 30 minutes.

“You never want the opponent to think they had something to play for,” said DL Shaun Smith. “We weren’t going to let that happen.”

The Titans had only the slimmest of chances to make the playoffs, but the key for them was they had to win. Whether the Chiefs were that good at the start, or the Titans didn’t care, their hopes of continuing to play football past January 2 ended very quickly.

“The game got out of reach early,” said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. “They made plays. We didn’t make plays on both sides of the ball. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to keep this game close.”

The game was never close. After going down 24-0, the closest the Titans got was after that 53-yard TD pass from QB Kerry Collins to WR Kenny Britt in the second quarter. That pulled them within 17 points and there was nothing that allowed them any momentum after the pick six by Berry.

“That was the play that killed them,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “When we got our defensive TD we knew it was our day. We could just let the dogs loose and get after them from that point.

Whether it killed the Titans is debatable – they appeared already football dead thanks to the play of the Chiefs on offense and defense.

“Offensively we got off to a great start today and I think that set the tone for the day,” said QB Matt Cassel. “The defense played well throughout the day. Special teams stepped up. It a great team victory and puts us one step closer to our team goal.”

Tennessee won the opening coin toss but decided to wait to get the ball to start the second half. Bad move by Fisher. Starting at their 31-yard line, the Chiefs went racing down the field in seven plays that used 3 minutes, 41 seconds of the clock. Cassel was outstanding in the drive, hitting all four of his passes and finding a different receiver for each one.

Ultimately, the score came on a 14-yard pass and run to Charles. It was like a screen pass to the left and with RG Ryan Lilja running out in front of him Charles made a bee-line for the end zone and scored easily. Ryan Succop kicked the PAT and it was 7-0 Chiefs.

On its first possession, the Titans got moving and picked up a pair of first downs, moving the ball into Kansas City territory. But facing a 4th-and-6 play at the Chiefs 38-yard line, the Titans went for the first down but failed when Collins pass was incomplete to WR Justin Gage.

With the ball back and starting at their own 38, the Chiefs offense went racing off down the field again, using 10 plays and covering the 62 yards in just less than five minutes. It was a little bit of run, and a lot of on the mark passes from Cassel. The last one was a five-yard toss to Charles that he caught over his shoulder with LB Gerald McRath on his back. Succop’s PAT made it 14-0.

The Titans went three plays and out and the Chiefs went down and put up a 35-yard field goal from Succop to go up 17-0. That’s three possessions and three scores. On their fourth possession, Cassel hooked up on a 75-yard scoring play with Bowe, who outran the Titans secondary to the end zone in the longest catch of his four-year career. Succop’s PAT gave the Chiefs a 24-0 lead.

“We always want to start fast, but that was really important in this game,” said Charles. “We wanted to go out and set the tone for the game.”

That they did. Add on Berry’s interception and his weaving return of 54 yards for a touchdown and the Chiefs went to the half-time locker room with a 31-7 lead.

The second half featured only two scores: Succop 42-yard field goal and a 22-yard TD pass from Collins to TE Jared Cook that set the final score. Offense was not much of the game over the final 30 minutes, as the teams combined for 228 yards. The Titans had just 97 yards in 28 plays.

The Chiefs defense grabbed another interception when FS Kendrick Lewis picked off a Collins throw, but that play was wiped out by a penalty. Later, CB Brandon Carr grabbed his first interception of the season, ripping a ball out of the arms of Britt.

By the time they were division champions, the Chiefs were scattered all around Kansas City and in some cases beyond as they were given Monday off by the head coach. Celebrations were part of the night, but there wasn’t going to be much time for anything next week.

Even though the final game is no meaningless to the outcome of the AFC West, it’s important to where the Chiefs end up being seeded in the tournament. Right now they are No. 3, behind New England and Pittsburgh. They will end up either being third or fourth. They can lock in third with a victory over the Raiders.

That’s for the next week, when Todd Haley won’t be able to ban the “p” word, because they now have their tickets punched to the post-season.

Column: A New Path Awaits Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

There are certain signs one looks for when watching the development of a team. When the bar is low enough to hold a limbo contest, there are many steps that must be taken before a group becomes a team and before a team becomes a successful team.

Unfortunately, there’s no Goggle Maps or MapQuest that the leaders of a team can call up that provides the path or fastest way to the ultimate goal. Maps and methods used by previous teams can provide insight and help, but it can’t walk the walk. That has to be done by the members of the team and that group changes every season.

The Chiefs have been taking that long walk for the last four years now. On Sunday, they got close to finding the end of the trail. With their 34-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans, they have won 10 games in a single season, this feat coming after they won just 10 games in the previous three seasons combined.

And with the help of the Cincinnati Bengals, they have captured the AFC West, a spot in the playoffs and an opening home game in the tournament.

Once lost on that path to becoming a good team, the Chiefs are now close enough that they can reach out and touch the target.

“I don’t think a lot of people thought we were getting to 10 (wins),” said head coach Todd Haley. “That’s a big step for this team. I’m proud of these guys and what they’ve done. Double digit wins in this league is a milestone.”

There are a lot of miles that have been traveled to reach that stone mentioned by Haley. It has not been a smooth ride for him, this team, the organization and especially its fans. First they headed off down a path behind not Lewis & Clark, but Carl & Herm, a pair of familiar leaders who knew the way. But after two years of stumbles, it was decided that the road taken and the guides leading the way needed to be different.

That brought Pioli & Haley into the journey and last year they carried a group of men down the path and most of the time found themselves stumbling into the briars along the way. They never got lost, but they didn’t seem to make much headway through the tall grass of the NFL. Some of those on the trail had to be left behind, unable to keep up with the pace. Others were dragged along by mates until they finally discovered how to make the march.

Expectations for the 2010 journey were cautious to say the least. There were concerns that the team didn’t have enough talent, or experience, or leaders. But as the season has gone on, the Chiefs have moved down the path and not gotten detoured. Yes, they have several times come to a fork in the road and have taken the wrong path. But they doubled back and got right back on track.

To reach the point where they have won 10 games and are now just a victory away from being division champs is almost unbelieveable, even to some of those who have survived the journey.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said QB Matt Cassel. “To go through being 4-12 last year, I know that there was a ton of adversity and it was difficult to handle at times. To be here with 10 wins in our season and one win away from a division championship, it’s remarkable to say the least.”

Funny thing about the journey from a group of people, to a team, to a good team – they reach the end of that trail, and suddenly there is another one they must traverse. That’s to go from a good team to a team that can win in January, to a team that can go to the Super Bowl, to a team that can win a Super Bowl.

Those journeys are part of the future for the Kansas City Chiefs. They will be difficult trips, where the problems and hurdles that must be dealt with increased frequency. But after where this team started its journey in the last days of July, those new paths are exciting.

It’s the reason they make the journey.

Pre-Game – Chiefs vs. Titans

From Arrowhead Stadium

No surprises with either team’s inactive players for today’s game. Details below.

10:00 a.m. CDT – Good morning from Arrowhead Stadium where game-day has dawned cloudy and cold, very cold. Temperature right now is 17 degrees and there’s a good breeze blowing from the west. There are also a few flurries blowing through the air but nothing major.

10:01 a.m. – The Chiefs made a roster move overnight, bringing WR Quinten Lawrence off the practice squad and releasing CB Mike Richardson. Lawrence has been a very disappointing sixth-round choice from the disastrous 2009 NFL Draft. He’s spent the entire season on the practice squad. There’s no obvious reason for his promotion, so it will be interesting to watch the personnel matters in this game – there’s no reason to bring him up if he’s not going to be active today.

10:02 a.m. – Quarterbacks and receivers are out early for their normal pre-game throwing session, although they are all bundled up against the cold. WR Dexter McCluster is easy to pick out, as he dreadlocks are flowing out of the back of the wool cap that he’s pulled down over his ears. …Read More!

Tale Of The Tape … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

If they had been around the 1920-30s when professional football took a backseat to baseball and college football, Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson would take off after the season was over and do a barnstorming tour around the country.

They would stage 100-meter races in every city and podunk village on either side of the Rockies. Fans would come from miles around to see the dreadlocked duo race to decide the fastest man in America.

Luckily for these two young men, the NFL is America’s past-time and while the whole nation does not yet know their whole stories, they have learned enough to know that Charles and Johnson are two of the best running backs in the game today.

And Sunday, their skills and speed will be on display at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s the Chiefs (9-5) hosting the Tennessee Titans (6-8) in game No. 16 of the season. Kickoff is 12 noon and yes, the CBS-TV broadcast will be on in the Kansas City area with Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon handling the microphones.

There’s a lot on the line in this game, especially for the Chiefs. They need to keep winning to grab the AFC West title and a spot in the playoffs. The Titans have not been mathematically eliminated, so they can dream a bit, but so many other teams have to lose to get them in it’s not much to hang a helmet on.

There are offensive weapons on these teams other than Charles and Johnson, but none are as likely to provide the big and fast punch as these two backs that came into the NFL together as part of the league’s Draft.

The Chiefs understand the task ahead of them. Stopping the run is the first goal in every one of coordinator Romeo Crennel’s game plans. Two years ago Johnson lit up the Chiefs defense, running for 168 yards on 18 carries including a 66-yard touchdown run that ended with him playing the bongos in the bad pit in the end zone. Those drums are no longer there, but that doesn’t mean he can’t duplicate the play with another long run. He has plenty of them in his career, going for more than 10 yards 119 times in his career, or once every 7.5 carries.

“He’s got that combination of speed and elusiveness that makes him tough to handle so we’re going to have to do a really good job, everybody across the board, because he stresses the whole defense, not just one position or one player,” said Crennel. “It’s the whole defense he stresses. We better do an excellent job.” …Read More!

Little Caesar’s Bowl: Florida Int. vs. Toledo

  • SUNDAY/7:30 P.M. CDT on ESPN

Florida International

Best prospect: #7 CB Anthony Gaitor, 5-9¾, 178 pounds, 4.53 seconds, Senior – For three years, Gaitor has been named to the All-Sun Belt Conference first-team defense. Over four seasons, he’s won many defensive player of the week honors. Gaitor has played all 48 games over the last four seasons, not missing any game because of injury. He has 11 career interceptions, 195 total tackles, 4 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and 24 passes broken up. Gaitor is out of Miami’s Northwestern High school and was part of a Florida 6-A state championship team in 2006. …Read More!

Opponent: Tennessee Titans

2010 record: 6-8, with victories over Oakland by 25 points, New York Giants by 10, Dallas by 7, Jacksonville by 27, Philadelphia by 18 and last week Houston by 14. They dropped games to Pittsburgh by 8, Denver by 6, San Diego by 8, Miami by 12, Washington by 3 in OT, Houston by 20, Jacksonville by 11 and Indianapolis by 2 points.

Last year’s record: 8-8, third-place in AFC South, six games behind Indianapolis.

(That’s Kerry Collins on the right. He’s the Titans starting quarterback these days instead of starting QB Vince Young.)

Record for the last five seasons: 43-39, with one division title (2008) and two appearances in the playoffs (2007-08).

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2008 season, when they lost to Baltimore 13-10 in the divisional round. Last post-season victory was in 2002, a 34-31 OT victory in the divisional round. …Read More!

A Merry Christmas Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

Mike Vrabel was just a kid then, about 10 years old, but he was old enough to know better.

The excitement took hold of Vrabel, blended with his curiosity and he went off to search through the Vrabel home for hidden presents. He found them too. A G.I. Joe aircraft carrier and assorted other goodies. He checked them out and then put them back.

But he didn’t return them exactly as he had found them. Mother Vrabel soon realized that young Mike had gotten into the presents.

“She took all of them back,” Vrabel said the other day in the Chiefs locker room. “She got me, we grabbed the presents, we went back to the store and she returned all of them.

“Lesson learned – I never looked for anything else in my life.”

Like Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Christmas and football have always had a very strange relationship over the years. The game provides entertainment during these holidays for 99 percent of the country. That other one percent is made up of people that have to work on those holidays. …Read More!

Friday 12/24 Practice Report-Update

From Arrowhead Stadium

As has become his custom for home games,Todd Haley took his team inside Arrowhead Stadium on Friday morning for their last workout before facing Tennessee on Sunday. The playing surface was covered Thursday evening/Friday morning so the field was in pretty good shape for the workout.

“I thought it was a good day,” Haley said of his team’s just less than 90-minute practice, highlighted by work on the red zone and situational football. “The guys had a good concentrational level and understand the task at hand.”

The team’s injury report to the league had the names of just two players: DB Donald Washington, out with a bum left ankle and LB Cory Greenwood listed as probable after suffering from an illness all week.

Greenwood was on the field Friday for the first time this week, but how much he was participating was impossible to tell during the media window. His presence is important to the Chiefs special teams where he’s one of the leaders.

Washington was in the rehab area riding on the stationary bike for the third consecutive day.

It also appeared that DL Shaun Smith was not participating in the workout. Smith was on the field and dressed, but he was not going through the defensive line drills.

For the Titans, all the players listed on their injury report were down as probable:  QB Chris Simms (illness), DE Jason Babin (shoulder) K Rob Bironas (groin), QB Kerry Collins (finger), DT Jason Jones (shoulder), LB David Thornton (hip) and DT Sen’derrick Marks (ankle).

No Apology Necessary … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

Let me say this to Chiefs fans on this Christmas Eve – you have nothing to apologize for and no reason to feel bad.

Some of the folks in the media horde have been firing away here in the last few days because the Chiefs struggled to sell enough tickets to lift the local television blackout for this Sunday’s game against Tennessee. That finally happened around five o’clock Thursday night when the team announced they had met the league standards for allowing the game to be broadcast within 75 miles of Kansas City.

This game is not sold out and Arrowhead Stadium will not be full. In fact, depending on the weather – temperature and precipitation – there may be a lot of empty seats on all three levels of the stadium.

The gist of the media blather is that fans should be wrapping their arms around the 2010 Chiefs and spending their last dime to buy a seat at Arrowhead Stadium for the important game with the Titans. In their view, to not do so is a black mark against the football fans of the metro area.

I hate at this time of the year to use such language, but let me say that’s crap, and a major dose of it.

…Read More!

Hawai’i’ Bowl: Hawai’i’ vs. Tulsa


Best prospect: #1 WR Greg Salas, 6-1½, 210 pounds, 4.57 seconds, Redshirt-Senior – A two-time member of the All-Western Athletic Conference first-team offense, Salas is the career leading receiver at Hawaii. He was among the leading receivers in the nation during the ’10 season, catching 106 passes for 1,675 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 48 games at Hawaii, Salas has caught 272 passes for 4,131 yards and 24 touchdown catches. He’s been invited to attend the Senior Bowl in January. …Read More!

Local TV For Chiefs-Titans

The Chiefs announced late Thursday afternoon that Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans will be available on local television. There will be no blackout.

What sort of hocus pocus went into making this happen is unknown. All we can speak for sure is this: the game will be on local TV and there are plenty – read that plenty – of tickets still available.

Thursday 12/23 Practice Report-Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Todd Haley had the Chiefs back outside Thursday for the second practice of week in preparation for Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

For the players and staff it was a bit warmer than Wednesday’s workout, as temperatures were right around 35 degrees and the wind was light. Right now, the weather forecast for game day has temperatures in the mid 20s, with partly cloud skies.

Haley liked what he saw on Thursday.

“I felt like it was another good practice for us,” Haley said. “Our guys understand that this Tennessee Titans team is a very good team that’s won a lot of games over the years.”

What especially concerns Haley and the Chiefs defense is the ability of the Titans to hit the big plays on offense. With players like RB Chris Johnson, WR Nate Washington, WR Kenny Britt and possibly WR Randy Moss, Tennessee has the tools to achieve big chunks of yardage. …Read More!

D.J. Fights Through … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

You want to know a definition of perseverance? It can be defined in two words:

Derrick Johnson.

Think about it for a minute here. Consider where the Chiefs linebacker’s career was a year ago. The team was wrapping up another losing season and Johnson could hardly be blamed because he seldom got on the field. After starting for the first four seasons of his NFL career, Johnson was moved out of the opening lineup by Todd Haley and his coaching staff. D.J.’s contributions were limited to the nickel package.

At times, the whole thing left Johnson confused, frustrated, sometimes even angry, although he’s not a person who walks around being upset. The media horde asked him all the time what was up, whether he had talked it over with the coaches, whether they had given him any type of clue as to why his arrow was obviously pointing down.

His answers were the same: he didn’t know what was up, the coaches had told him nothing and he had no clue why he had to fight his way out of the dog house.

But there’s one thing Johnson did not do – quit. He put in the hardest working off-season of his career and he’s played in all 14 games this year. He has become the motor of the Chiefs 2010 defense, leading the team in tackles and earning himself AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts last Sunday in St. Louis.   …Read More!

Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. San Diego State

As the college bowl season starts, we will check up on the participants and NFL prospects that will be part of the game.


San Diego State

Best prospect: #80 WR Vincent Brown, 5-11 ¾, 195 pounds, 4.52 seconds, Senior – He considered coming out of school last year, but got a fourth-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee so he decided to stay in school. Brown had a big season in ’09 until he suffered a torn ligament in a thumb, costing him the last five games of the season. He came back this season and Brown has 61 catches for 1,187 yards and nine TD catches, one of those going for 90 yards against Utah. He was a first-team selection to the All-Mountain West Conference offense. Right now he’s third in school history with 201 receptions, 2,945 yards and 22 touchdowns over his career. …Read More!

ANSWER BOB – 12/23

Rich says: Bob, do you have a Top Ten list of the toughest Chiefs? In terms of the QB position, I always thought DeBerg was one tough hombre. How does Cassel compare? Thanks for “bringing your talent” to the Chiefs fans every day. Merry Christmas.

Bob says: Happy holidays to you Rich. Great question and you are right about DeBerg. When he broke his pinkie back in 1990 and quickly got back on the field that was toughness. Every time he took a snap, that ball would bump against that finger and send shooting pains through his hand and arm. OK, here are 10, and these are just guys that I’ve seen personally since 1981. I list them in no particular order: CB Kevin Ross, C Jack Rudnay, S Lloyd Burruss, G Tom Condon, TE Ed Beckman, S Deron Cherry, LB Dino Hackett, G Dave Szott, RB Priest Holmes, FS Jerome Woods and G Brian Waters. I’m sure I’m leaving a few folks out, but that’s a list of tough, tough guys. There are a lot of Pro Bowl appearances among that group and that’s no coincidence. Pound for pound the toughest were Ross and Rudnay. Physically, these two guys had no business playing pro football for one season, let alone the 14 and 13 seasons that they played. …Read More!

Wednesday 12/22 Practice Report-Update2

From the Truman Sports Complex

It was cold outside late Wednesday morning. It will be cold outside this coming Sunday. So as the Chiefs began their preparation week for facing the Tennessee Titans, Todd Haley had his team practicing outside.

And, the head coach was outside wearing shorts. Haley was the only coach, player, trainer, equipment man on the field with legs exposed.

Is the man crazy?

“No, not really, you know what point he’s trying to make,” said veteran LG Brian Waters. “You appreciate the fact he’s trying to make that point. We all realize that it’s cold, but it’s something you just have to deal with and it’s something that it’s up to you to not let it affect your game.” …Read More!

D.J. Defensive Player Of The Week

From the Truman Sports Complex

On Wednesday, the NFL informed the Chiefs that ILB Derrick Johnson had been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in St. Louis last Sunday in a 27-13 victory over the Rams.

Coaching tape review had Johnson with 17 total tackles, including 12 solo stops, and four passes defended.

Johnson joins OLB Tamba Hali as the second Chiefs player to win the honor this season. It’s the first time a pair of  linebackers have claimed the award in a season since 1991 when Derrick Thomas and Tracy Simien achieved the honor. For Johnson, it’s the third time in his career he’s been the player of the week.
On the season Johnson has 134 tackles to lead the team. He also has a sack (-11.0 yards), an INT return for a 15-yard TD, 12 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three QB pressures. He is tied for third in the AFC with four forced fumbles.

Post-Season Picture … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

I’ve always felt it was one of the dumbest statements at any point in the NFL season, save the final game:

If the season ended today …

The season doesn’t end today, or tomorrow, or the day after that. But we can see the end of the 2010 regular season on the horizon and fans all around the NFL that want to talk about playoffs and possibilities. This year for the first time in four years, the Chiefs Nation is considering post-season scenarios.

So … if the season ended today, the Chiefs would be hosting the New York Jets in a divisional round game in the AFC playoffs on either January 8 or 9.

All that changes nothing – the surest way for the Chiefs to be playing on January 8/9 is to win their final games against Tennessee and Oakland.

Right now, four of the 12 spots in the AFC and NFC post-season brackets have been filled. In the AFC it’s New England and Pittsburgh. In the NFC it’s Atlanta and Chicago. The Bears are the only team that so far has won their division outright.   …Read More!

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Utah

As the college bowl season starts, we will check up on the participants and NFL prospects that will be part of the game.


 Boise State (11-1)

Best prospect: #1 WR Titus Young, 5-11, 170 pounds, 4.48 seconds, Redshirt-Senior – He’s a two-time honoree on the first-team of the All-Western Athletic Conference offense. Young has been the team’s leading receiver this year, with 1,151 yards on 65 catches. That follows up his junior season when he had 1,041 yards and 79 catches, along with two kickoff returns for touchdowns. His sophomore season was reduced to three games after he was suspended by head coach Chris Peterson for the last eight games of the season. No reason was given at the time, but it appears to have been a maturity issue. Right now in 42 games with the Broncos, Young has caught 198 passes for 2,999 yards and 25 touchdowns. He’s returned 55 kickoffs for an average of 26.1 yards and two TDs. He’s also scored eight rushing TDs, to a total of 35 scores. …Read More!

Enrique’s Epic & Fails – St. Louis

I’m beginning with the Fails this time around because there were so many positives on Sunday afternoon that I chose to address the “negatives” (which proved to be few and harmless, by the way) right off the bat. You know, in order to close out on a good note. Consequently, feel free to consider this start as a tiny bump on the road (or a column-filler, if you wish), ’cause after that, it only gets better and better.



I know, I know. Charles didn’t seem to be at 100% by the end of the game, but with only two yards separating him from an 82-yard TD scamper – and again, taking into consideration that by leading with this I’m pretty much letting you in on my current mood – I just can’t resist giving him some good-natured flack over being tracked down by Ron Bartell. So, what’s that expression that they’re saying over at ESPN? Oh yeah … C’mon, man.


…Read More!

The Numbers – After Game No. 14

OK, admit it. After the first quarter didn’t you think . . . “same old thing as last week.”

The Rams held the ball almost 11 minutes. They had run it eight times, five successful runs of four or more yards. The Rams had converted three of five third-down plays. Chiefs defenders were giving them plenty of help with missed tackles.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs offense had just two first downs, minus-five yards rushing (couldn’t convert a second-and-1), 16 yards of total offense and quarterback Matt Cassel had thrown an interception for the first time since the final pass of the first half against Oakland (a string of 162 passes without an interception).

The only significant statistic in the Chiefs favor was that they had held the Rams to just a pair of field goals – though the Rams did have the ball and were inside Kansas City territory.

On Monday, Todd Haley called the victory in St. Louis a “complementary” win, saying at different times in the game each segment of the team contributed: some three-and-outs by the defense, three sacks, Matt Cassel’s toughness, Dustin Colquitt’s 72-yard punt on special teams and Jamaal Charles’ 80-yard run.

So the easy thing would be to say everything got turned around and the Chiefs rolled to their ninth win of the season in comfortable fashion. And certainly the 27-13 final score looks like it. But looks can be deceiving, and it’s clear that not all the problems of the defense are solved – nor is the running game back on track and as much as the team’s sixth 200-yard rushing game would indicate.

Since we’ve hit the defense hard the past several weeks, we’ll evaluate the offense first. …Read More!

Knowing Their Role … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

For every Brad Pitt, there are a dozen actors like Richard Jenkins. For every Meryl Streep, there are another dozen actresses like Mary Kay Place.

Pitt and Streep are stars, who get the big money, top billing on the marquee and unlimited attention from the media and fans. Jenkins and Place are role players, character actors, folks who never get top billing but who help carry a film production. Movies can’t survive without them.

Same for sports teams, especially NFL teams. When the roster is 53 players, not everyone can be one of those 22 starters. Not everyone can get the attention, the money or adulation. But without the role players, the stars can’t get their jobs done.

The subject of role players came up in Todd Haley’s talk with the media horde on Monday, some 24 hours after the Chiefs decisive 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

There’s no doubt that guys like Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles were key performers in the victory. But so were players like Wallace Gilberry, Jackie Battle, Verran Tucker, Tim Castille and Leonard Pope. Only Castille was a starter in the game, but his role player status is assured by the fact it was his first time he was active in a month.

…Read More!

Leftovers From the ‘Looo

For awhile there it looked like Chris Chambers’ time as a contributing part of the Chiefs offense were over.

Against the Broncos, Chambers was a healthy scratch, on the inactive list for the game because of a coach’s decision. The next Sunday against the Chargers, Chambers was on the active roster for the game, but didn’t see much playing time until the fourth quarter when the outcome was decided.

Last week, Chambers expressed frustration with his inactivity, but also was determined to make himself relevant again.

“I guess I have to convince the coaches that I can still make something happen,” Chambers said last Friday. “I’m still working hard, I’m healthy and I’m ready. I just need the opportunity.”

The opportunity came on Sunday in St. Louis, where suddenly Chambers was getting reps in the first half and QB Matt Cassel was looking for him. He ended up catching three passes that went for 42 yards. Hardly the numbers that will get anybody excited, but for Chambers they represented one of his best days of the season.

“I know I have the confidence of Matt,” Chambers said after the game. “If I can get on the field, then I think we can make some things happen in the passing game over the games that are left.”

After he arrived in Kansas City halfway through last season, Chambers immediately became a big contributor to the ’09 Chiefs offense. A free agent after the season, the Chiefs showed they wanted to keep him by agreeing to agreeing to a three-year, $12 million deal with $5.9 million in guaranteed money.

From the start of the season, something seemed amiss with Chambers. He was not getting the snaps or opportunities and eventually he was inactive for three games – one due to a finger injury – while playing 11 other games, but starting only five times. Terrance Copper and rookie Verran Tucker both jumped ahead of him when it came to snaps in the offense. …Read More!

29 Years Later They Do It Again

Monday night football is going down in the Twin Cities this evening, with the game set to be played outdoors, at the University of Minnesota’s stadium with four to six inches of snow forecast to fall during the evening.

It’s the first time since December 20, 1981 that the Vikings have played a home game outside. On that very cold Sunday, they lost to the Chiefs 10-6 in the final event at old Metropolitan Stadium in the suburb of Bloomington.

The details of the action escape me. I was there covering the game. There have been so many games between then and now, the plays fade away. What I do remember is before and after the game.

The Chiefs stayed in a Marriott hotel that was just across the parking lot from the stadium. I remember Saturday evening watching the snow come down as nobody wanted to venture out of the hotel because of the weather. The next morning, I woke up to find that the wind had been so strong and the snow so plentiful that it blew flakes through the seal of the room’s window. Yes snow was everywhere. And it was cold, the type of cold where it hurt the inside of your nose when you took a breath. …Read More!

Sunday’s Best – 12/19


  • 97 – N.Y. Jets WR Brad Smith kickoff return for TD vs. Pittsburgh (W).
  • 80 – Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles run vs. St. Louis (W).
  • 78 – Jacksonville WR Mike Thomas kickoff return for TD vs. Indianapolis (L).
  • 73 – Oakland FB Marcel Reece TD catch vs. Denver (W).
  • 72 – Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt punt vs. St. Louis (W).
  • 71 – Oakland WR Jacoby Ford run vs. Denver (W).
  • 66 – Green Bay WR James Jones TD catch vs. New England (L).
  • 65 – Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson (right) punt return vs. N.Y. Giants (W).
  • 65 – Philadelphia TE Brad Celek TD catch vs. N.Y. Giants (W).
  • 62 – Miami P Brandon Fields punt vs. Buffalo (W).


  • 153 – Baltimore RB Ray Rice on 31 carries, 1 TD vs. New Orleans (W).
  • 150 – Cincinnati RB Cedric Benson on 31 carries, 1 TD vs. Cleveland (W).
  • 137 – Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart on 27 carries vs. Arizona (W).
  • 130 – Philadelphia QB Michael Vick on 10 carries, 1 TD vs. N.Y. Giants (W).
  • 130 – Tennessee RB Chris Johnson on 24 carries, 1 TD vs. Houston (W).
  • 129 – Indianapolis RB Donald Brown on 14 carries, 1 TD vs. Jacksonville (W).
  • 126 – Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles on 11 carries, 1 TD vs. St. Louis (W).
  • 119 – Oakland RB Darren McFadden on 20 carries vs. Denver (W).
  • 110 – Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount on 15 carries, 1 TD vs. Detroit (L).
  • 109 – Detroit RB Maurice Morris on 15 carries, 1 TD vs. Tampa Bay (W).
  • 100 – Pittsburgh RB Reshard Mendenhall on 17 carries, 1 TD vs. N.Y. Jets (L). …Read More!

Picture For Playoffs – 12/19

There are just two weeks left in the regular season. Right now, in the AFC if the playoffs started today they would feature New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, the New York Jets, Chiefs and Colts.

But the playoffs don’t start today and there remains a scramble for the five remaining spots in the AFC tournament with New England. As they have been for some time, the Chiefs would be the No. 3 seed if everything was wrapped up today.

Here’s the picture for scenarios for the playoffs for the Chiefs.

Chiefs win 2 games:

  • Chiefs are 11-5 and take the division.
  • Best OAK could get to would be 8-8; best SD could get is 10-6.

Chiefs win 1 game:

  • It’s irrelevant which game the Chiefs win. The only difference would be the final standings of OAK and the way SD wins the tiebreaker.
  • If the Chiefs lose just one game SD will take the division by winning out.
  • With two more wins the Chiefs are 10-6.
  • SD must win both games to go 10-6.

In that case:

  • Face-to-face tiebreaker: push.
  • Next tiebreaker: Standings within the division: KC 3-3 (if KC wins over OAK), 2-4 (if they lose to Raiders); SD 3-3 if they beat Denver in the season finale. If Oakland is involved based on winning two games, they would be 6-0 in the division.
  • Next tiebreaker: Standings in common games: KC 7-5, SD 8-4. SD wins.

Chiefs lose 2 games:

  • Chiefs end the season at 9-7.
  • SD may get to 10-6 but will hold the tiebreaker over KC even if they lose one game.
  • By winning remaining games OAK may get to 9-7 as well. In that case OAK wins the face-to-face tiebreaker over both SD and KC.

Around The AFC West – 12/19

Tim Tebow (right) made his debut as a starting quarterback on Sunday in Oakland.

What a tough place for any young quarterback to get an initial start – in the Black Hole against an improved Raiders team.

So that’s why Tebow walked out a loser with the rest of the Denver Broncos, falling 39-23 to the silver and black. That’s nine losses in the last 10 games for the Broncos.

But the Raiders are hanging in there in the post-season picture after the victory over Denver.

The Chiefs are 9-5, with the Chargers 8-6 and the Raiders 7-7. Only the Chiefs can win it outright with two victories in their final two games. The Chargers and Raiders would both need help.

Here’s how their schedules come down in the last two weeks:

  • Chiefs – host Tennessee, host Oakland.
  • Chargers – at Cincinnati, at Denver.
  • Raiders – host Indianapolis, at Chiefs.

Raiders 39, Broncos 23 @ Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The score was tied at 17-17 when the Broncos and Raiders went to the locker room at half-time.

Apparently, Oakland coach Tom Cable very quickly made his displeasure known.

“That’s the most animated I’ve ever seen him,” said DT Tommy Kelly. “From the time we came in here pretty much until we left, nobody really talked except Cabes.”

Oakland had given up two long TDs to Denver QB Tim Tebow, making his first NFL start. Plus, a Raiders penalty had taken a touchdown off the board. Too many mistakes were threatening the fragile string that keeps alive the silver and black’s hopes for the playoffs.

They came out in the second half and produced some big plays of their own. QB Jason Campbell connected on a 73-yard pass play to FB Marcel Reece and rookie WR Jacoby Ford had a 71-yard run. RB Darren McFadden was running for 119 yards and the Raiders walked away with a division victory.

“I wish we were in a better position, but to still be in the fight, still be in the hunt, we’ve grown a long ways,” Campbell said. “What we have to do is control what’s in front of us from here out.”

San Diego enjoys a weekend of rest

With their victory this week in the bag from last Thursday night against San Francisco, the Chargers used the weekend to rest up and they hope, get healthy for the stretch.

It starts with TE Antonio Gates. His injured right foot may keep him out until the playoffs, if San Diego can get there. Still, he’s not been ruled out at any point in the final two games.

“I’m hoping for Gates in Cincinnati,” head coach Norv Turner said, referring to the Chargers’ next game. “I know it’s hard for him because he’s the guy who has to go play. I think he’s getting better. I don’t know if he’ll be ready for Cincinnati, but if he is we need him.”

The Chargers head coach was also hopeful that injured WR Malcom Floyd and LB Larry English will return for the game against the Bengals; both aggravating injuries against Kansas City. Turner said he “wouldn’t count on” WR Patrick Crayton playing in Cincinnati, but there is a possibility. Crayton has not played since injuring his wrist Nov. 22 against Denver. There is also an outside chance RG Louis Vasquez, out the past three games with a neck injury, will return for the Bengals game.

“We have a lot of guys that have nicks and are banged up and (have) little things they’re playing with,” Turner said. “You hope the extra days rest will help that.”

Notes: Rams Can’t Respond

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

There was so much on the line Sunday for the Rams. They were tied for the NFC West lead and they were playing the Chiefs at home. It had the atmosphere of the playoffs.

But the Rams did not rise to the challenge. Other than dominating the first quarter, St. Louis was not able to mount a challenge and went down to their eighth loss of the season.

The question to Rams coach Steve Spanuolo was blunt and to the point: is it possible the Rams are not capable of winning a big game at this stage of their development?

“I’m not going to concede that right now because we’re going to have one (big game) this week,” said the head coach who is now 7-23 in his two seasons leading the Rams. “I fully believe in this football team. I know one thing, typically throughout this season and anytime when we’ve had our backs to the wall and we’re down a little bit, we bounce back. I fully expect these guys will do that.”

The Rams came out with a nice opening drive, but had to settle for a field goal. One of the reasons for that was taking back-to-back false start penalties.

“I thought we did a great job on the first drive getting the ball down there and once we got down there, penalties just killed us,” said QB Sam Bradford. “It really seems like after that drive, probably until the fourth quarter, it really seems like we struggled to find any kind of rhythm as an offense. We had way too many three and outs. We just have to do better as an offense.”

Defensively, MLB James Laurinaitis led the team with 11 tackles, but was disgusted that at the end of the game they gave up the big run to Jamaal Charles of 80 yards.

“It just leaves you disgusted and a sick feeling in your stomach,” Laurinaitis said. “Just the fact that when you’re on defense and you let a big play happen like that at a critical part of the game.”

At 6-8 the Rams remain tied for first place in the NFC West and both of their final games are within the division. They’ll host San Francisco the day after Christmas and then travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks on January 2. Two victories will put them in the playoffs.

“Our goal was to win the NFC West and that goal is still achievable,” said Spagnuolo. “But we’re in a situation now where basically you can’t give any games away. You have to win the next one. It’s now must win.”


As the Northwest High School band was coming down the home stretch of the national anthem, the folks in the press box paid attention. It’s always interesting to hear how loud Chiefs fans will get when the anthem reaches the end with the “home of the Chiefs.”

There was no mistaking the Chiefs fans on this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. They bellowed home of the Chiefs. “Man that was the best,” said DE Wallace Gilberry. “That got us all fired up. I mean, our fans got our back in St. Louis.”

The Rams reported 55,669 for paid attendance. Apparently, they sold enough to satisfy the NFL blackout rules, because the game was on local television. But it certainly wasn’t sold out; it was very much like one of those fake sellouts at Arrowhead that the Chiefs are always claiming.

There were empty seats in every section of the stadium, including on the lower level at the 50-yard line. In the upper deck, there were big areas of empty seats. The crowd was about 60-40, Rams to Chiefs fans. By the end of the game, it was nearly 100 percent Chiefs fans.


KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop was strong all day, hitting his six kickoffs two yards deep in the end zone four times. He put another at the one-yard line and another at the two. None of those six kickoffs had the Rams starting their possession past the 28-yard line.

FIELD GOALS – Succop hit three field goals on the day, but only two counted. His 51-yarder split the uprights, but G Brian Waters was called for a false start. His 53-yarder matches his career best and he was good from 38 yards. On the season he’s now 17 of 22, 77.3 percent.

PUNTS – Dustin Colquitt punted six times, with a 47.5-yard average and a 36.2-yard net average. His long punt was 72 yards, tied for the third longest of his career. That was his only touchback of the day. He put three inside the 20-yard line.

RETURNS – On eight punt returns, the Chiefs averaged 9.3 yards. The longest return was 24 yards by Dexter McCluster. On kickoff returns, McCluster had four returns but averaged just 15.5 yards a return. His longest was 25 yards.

COVERAGE – Rams WR Danny Amendola handled the returns quite well. On three punt returns, he averaged 16 yards a return, including a 42-yarder. On six kickoff returns, his average was 24.8 yards, with a 30-yard long return.

TACKLES – WR Verran Tucker and SS Eric Berry each had two tackles in the kicking game. Also picking up tackles were CB Travis Daniels, LB Demorrio Williams, LB Corey Mays, LB Cory Greenwood and Succop.


Ron Winter and his crew definitely had their eye on the Rams, hitting them with nine flags. They got the Chiefs for eight, but three of those were declined. The attention was on the line of scrimmage where they called seven false start penalties overall, including five against the Rams. There were also a host of illegal formations and shifts.

Here’s where they penalized the Chiefs:

  1. Offense    Tony Moeaki    illegal formation        minus-5
  2. Offense    Branden Albert    false start        minus-5
  3. Offense    Matt Cassel    Intentional grounding    minus-10
  4. Field Goal    Brian Waters    false start        minus-5
  5. Defense    D. Williams    unnecessary roughness    minus-15

Todd Haley threw his red replay challenge flag twice in this game. The first was on the spotting of the ball after a third-down run by QB Matt Cassel. He lost that challenge. He won the second in the fourth quarter, when he challenged a 12-yard catch by Rams WR Danario Alexander. The review showed the catch was not made and the call was overturned.

But that replay challenge was the last that Haley held –coaches get two per game, and if the call is changed on the first two, they get a third challenge. On the Chiefs next offensive possession, Thomas Jones ran for 16 yards and lost the ball at the end of the play. Officials on the field first ruled it was a fumble.

“It was big at the time (the reversal of the Alexander catch), but not so good later when a fumble was ruled,” Haley said. “That was a big play, but the other one might have been bigger. I thought the officials did a great job of getting it right.”

Winter’s crew got together and changed the call on the field, ruling that Jones was down before he lost the ball. Replay showed that was the correct call.


RB Jamaal Charles and his problem with cramps was the only real point where the Chiefs had a problem with injuries. But that situation is something that should clear up pretty quickly.

The only other visibly injured player was DB Donald Washington. He was on the sideline most of the second half taking ice on his left ankle/foot area.

For the Rams, they lost FB Brit Miller to a knee injury, possible a torn ACL.


No surprises on the list of inactive players for the Chiefs: CB Mike Richardson, S Ricky Price, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger, DT Anthony Toribio and inactive third quarterback Tyler Palko.

The inactive players for the Rams were: S Michael Lewis, CB Justin King, RB Kenneth Darby, FB Mike Karney, LB David Nixon, G John Greco, WR Mardy Gilyard and TE Michael Hoomanawanui.

QB Brodie Croyle was the only active player for the Chiefs who did not play.


ILB Jovan Belcher was the sixth captain for this game and he called heads on the opening coin flip. It came up heads and the Chiefs deferred their choice to the second half … the victory gave the Chiefs a 4-0 record against the NFC West for the season. They’ve now won 10 games in a row against that division … Missouri Governor Jay Nixon presented the Governor’s Cup Trophy to Clark Hunt in the press conference room after the game … with 210 rushing yards, the Chiefs have topped the 200-yard mark six times this season.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Rams

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – It was a struggle for most of the game for the Chiefs to keep a consistent rush going against a St. Louis defense that was playing the run. There was the 80-yarder by Jamaal Charles on his way to another 100-yard game. Then there were 41 other runs for an average of 3.2 yards per carry.

PASSING OFFENSE: C – There was too much pressure allowed on QB Matt Cassel by the protection unit; he was sacked three times on the afternoon and harassed and hit five other times. Cassel also threw an interception on a strange play where WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki were in the same place at the same time. They don’t draw up plays like that. Bowe caught only two passes and overall, the Chiefs averaged 12.3 yards per completion and just over six yards an attempt.

RUSH DEFENSE: A – Keeping Steve Jackson under control was hugely important in the Chiefs chances to win this game and getting it done opened up so much of their defense. Tackling was much improved over the previous two weeks, as they were wrapping up on tackles. Several times, they made open field tackles to stop potentially big plays.

PASS DEFENSE: A – Rookie QB Sam Bradford had his hands full in this one. Once the Chiefs stopped the Rams running game, that put the game in the hands of Bradford and he does not have the experience or the receiving talent to be able to win those types of games. There were the three sacks from DE Wallace Gilberry and six other quarterback hits. Late in the game, FS Kendrick Lewis was able to snuff any chance with a pair of interceptions.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – Nothing special going on here. Ryan Succop and Dustin Colquitt were good, but they got nothing in the return game again and in coverage they allowed too much yardage, including a 42-yard punt return and a 30-yard kickoff return by Danny Amendola. Those are two of the longest returns that he’s had this season. Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster averaged only 9.3 yards on eight punt returns.

COACHING: A – Credit must go to defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and head coach Todd Haley. Crennel got his group playing smart and hard right from the start. They were able to befuddle rookie QB Sam Bradford at times and RB Steven Jackson was kept under wraps. Haley deserves top grades for the way he handled the past week with Matt Cassel. There are times when the Chiefs are silly in the secrecy, but the status of Cassel in the last week wasn’t so much secrecy, as it was playing the cards as they were dealt.

Defense Controls Jackson, Bradford

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

It’s the same goal every week at the top of the Chiefs defensive game-plan – stop the opponent’s running game.

The players knew it would be emphasized even more against the St. Louis Rams. One reason was the abilities of Rams RB Steve Jackson, one of the most under-rated and best backs in the league. Another, and maybe the bigger reason was rebounding as a defense from last week’s horrible showing against San Diego, when they allowed 207 rushing yards to the Chargers.

“We wanted to put pressure on the quarterback,” said DE Wallace Gilberry. “But the best way to get that done is to stop the running game. That’s what allows you to effect the quarterback.”

Gilberry should know – he picked up three sacks of Sam Bradford on Sunday, as the Chiefs went after the rookie quarterback with a bunch of different rush packages.

But the key was stopping Jackson, and they got that done. The Rams back had 67 yards on 19 carries, a 3.5-yard per carry average. The high point for the defense was the fact that Jackson’s longest run was just eight yards.

“Our defense did a terrific job,” said head coach Todd Haley. “They knew they had to stop No. 39 (Jackson) and keep him out of the double-digit runs, which we did. Our guys did that. I challenged the secondary before today’s game and they did a terrific job. We played a lot of man (coverage) and our guys fought it out, competed, knocked the ball out and didn’t give up the big play.”

To stop Jackson, the Chiefs played to the Rams running game. They got some help from their offense, since they got the lead and eventually St. Louis was forced to use the passing game. That limited Jackson to his 19 carries, with only five of those going for five yards or more. Five carries went for two yards or less.

“Steven Jackson is a heck of a running back and we had to corral him,” said CB Brandon Carr. “We had to wrap him up and play team defense and cover out there on the island.”

ILB Derrick Johnson had a big game, with 13 tackles as he became the primary man to bring Jackson down. No other defensive player for the Chiefs had more than four tackles. But in the end 14 different defenders were credited with tackles.

Johnson had seven tackles of Jackson in the running game and he had three more on him as a receiver.

“We had a lot of miscues,” Jackson said of the Rams offense. “There were a lot of things that were just fundamental football. We made a lot of mistakes out there. We just didn’t play good football. They didn’t do anything as far as the running game goes. They got after us in the passing, but we didn’t play good football.”

The ability to keep Jackson under wraps allowed the Chiefs to get a pass rush going against Bradford. Early in the game, they went after him with a lot of different looks and pass rushes, sending three, four, five and six rushers.

“We were able to keep No. 8 uncomfortable with some pressure,” Haley said of Bradford. “That was another key for us. After that first drive they settled down and played good defense.”

That allowed Gilberry to have the best pass rushing day of his young career. He now has seven sacks and along with Tamba Hali’s 11, that’s the most any two Chiefs defenders have had together since Hali and Jared Allen had 22 sacks in the 2007 season.

“Coach Romeo (Crennel) just knows how to get us in the right positions for games like this one,” Gilberry said. “I’ve got to give him all the credit. We were well prepared for what they did and since we controlled their running game, they weren’t able to sustain anything.”

Jones Joins The Legends

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

It came on the first play of the third quarter for the Chiefs. They ran a sweep left and Thomas Jones got just a step outside and picked up four yards.

In a game where there were 42 running plays, it was a rather non-descript effort. But it was four yards that put Jones even deeper into the NFL record books.

That run pushed Jones over the 10,000-yard mark for his career. He became the 25th runner to gain that much yardage doing it in 11 seasons and 162 games.

Jones joined a remarkable club of backs with names like Payton, Sanders, Brown, Dickerson, Faulk, Allen, Simpson and on and on. A lot of men have carried the football over the lengthy history of the NFL. Right now, only 25 have done it to the tune of 10,000 yards or more.

Jones joined them on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, finishing the afternoon with 62 yards on 22 carries.

“That’s amazing for me, especially where I started in Arizona where I had a tough start,” Jones said. “It just says a lot about my family, my support system, my belief in God, never giving up on my abilities. It’s definitely something that you can look back on when your career is over and be proud of.”

He’s been chasing that 10,000-yard mark for several weeks now, but the yardage has come slowly in recent games for Jones. In the last five weeks his rushing totals have ranged from 71 yards against Arizona and 68 yards against Denver at Arrowhead, to three yards in Denver and just one yard last Sunday in San Diego.

Since his 100-yard game against the Texans in Houston, he’s been productive at home (341 yards in four games) and not so productive on the road (104 yards in four games.) Sunday in St. Louis, it looked like another one of those games. At the end of the first quarter, he had minus-one yards on three carries. At half-time, he had 15 yards on seven carries.

But when they needed to grind the clock in the second half, Charles got moving, carrying the ball 15 times for 47 yards, including a 16-yard run. He also caught a 16-yard pass to helped set up one of the Chiefs touchdowns.

At the end of 14 games, he now has 828 yards on 212 carries. He needs 172 yards in the last two games, or 86 yards per game to reach his sixth straight 1,000-yard season.

“That’s not something that’s really on my mind right now,” Jones said. “Right now, it’s about us bouncing back and winning this game. Now we get to go home and play and we’ve got to do the same things next week that we did this week to get ready.

Jones says he’s found a home in Kansas City. In a story that ran in the New York Times over the weekend, he was quoted as saying “people here love football. They care about each other. They work hard. This is the kind of place where I’m supposed to be.”

When asked about his feelings after the game, Jones made it plain that he has found a place where he’s wanted and where people understand and thrive off his personality.

“It’s just the environment, the atmosphere,” Jones said. “I think the kind of player I am this is the perfect place for me to be. We have a lot of younger players that I can lead by example. Not just verbally or being a vocal guy. There are a lot of young guys on this team that want to be great players and it puts me in a position where the things I normally do, like watching extra film, get in the weight room, get in the cold tub, the hot tub all those extra things I do to be the best on Sunday, there are a lot of guys that are following my example and it makes me happy to see that. It makes a difference.”

Charles & Running Game Return

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Jamaal Charles limped into the trainer’s room in the cramped Chiefs locker room after Sunday’s 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

An emissary came out and told the media that was waiting for him that he needed treatment and then he’d be heading for the bus and the airport. He would not have time to speak.

Quite possibly after everything that happened on Sunday he may have had a cramp in his tongue. Despite cramping up several times and having to be helped off the field at the Jones Dome, Charles didn’t slow down until he was in the locker room.

Charles ran for 126 yards on 11 carries with 80 of those yards coming on a single run that went down between a couple of those moments when he was cramping from dehydration.

That’s the only way Rams CB Ron Bartel would have been able to catch Charles at the end of that 80-yard scamper, grabbing him from behind two yards short of the end zone.

“He’s not going to like that,” LG Brian Waters said with a smile. “Getting caught from behind, you know he had to be hurting.”

Those cramps were not the only thing that slowed Charles down. The Rams defense did a good job of keeping the entire Chiefs running game bottled up, especially in the first quarter. St. Louis allowed minus-five yards on four carries. The longest carry was one-yard.

It was an ugly reminder of last week’s game in San Diego, when the Chiefs managed just 48 yards on 17 carries.

                                                                                             LONGEST RUNS IN CHIEFS HISTORY

“There was no way we were going to allow that to happen again,” said TE Leonard Pope of the poor rushing day. “We were all jacked to make sure we gave everybody room to make some moves.”

They did not, as the Chiefs ran for 207 yards on 42 carries, or five yards per carry and short touchdown runs by both Charles and Thomas Jones.

But it didn’t come easily because the Rams were playing an eight-man defensive front all day and they did a fairly good job of slowing down the Chiefs running attack. By half-time, the Chiefs had 51 yards on 15 carries, but their leading rusher was QB Matt Cassel with 17 yards, 13 coming on a single run. There wasn’t much that came out of the run game in the third quarter, as they ran for 46 yards on 13 carries. Charles started the fourth period with 46 yards on 10 carries.

Then came his 80-yard run, where he bolted through the middle of the offensive line, veered towards the left side as he went down field and was stopped until Bartel yanked him down from behind.

“It’s disappointing when you have eight men in the box, you usually don’t get those type of runs,” said Bartel. “They have two really good backs, a pretty good offensive line and they stick to it. They have some backs where you can keep them bottled up all day and it just takes one run, as you saw. We did a pretty good job, but that one run kind of broke our backs.”

Charles was down after the run not of exhaustion, but of cramping in his left calf and right hamstring. As he rested on the sideline, Jones leaped over the middle of the Chiefs offensive line for the touchdown.

“Our success always starts with our running game,” said Cassel. “Everybody involved has done a great job this year, and it always takes the pressure off us, especially me, when we can get that going.”

And the biggest run was by Charles, as he’s cramping at the end of his 80-yard run.

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Rams MLB James Laurinaitis. “It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve got a guy that I thought we did a pretty solid job of keeping bottled up. They had the lead, so you have to know that they’re going to try to run the ball and as a defense we’ve got to be able to stop that.”

For the Chiefs it was another chance to continued ascendency of their young running back.

“When you talk about guys developing and growing before your eyes, he’s something else,” Todd Haley said of Charles. “Our guys were trying to get him out, and he wasn’t leaving. The next thing you know, we are in a critical juncture in the game where we need to run the clock and not give the ball back to them and he makes a huge play.

“Jamaal you see him growing up right before your eyes. It’s one of those things that makes you feel good as a coach.”

Cassel Never Had A Doubt About Playing

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Each day of last week, Matt Cassel knew one thing for sure – he was going to play Sunday in St. Louis.

The doctors and trainers and Todd Haley and Chiefs fans did not know, and some of those people stood between him and playing. But there was never a doubt in Cassel’s mind that even without his appendix, he was going to play.

“I will say I was a little nervous going into the game, just because for 28 years of my life I played every game with my appendix and today was my first game without,” Cassel told the media horde after the Chiefs 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Some of those media types had their head’s buried in their notebooks and didn’t see the sly smile on Cassel’s face as he spoke.

Cassel made it plain he would give up other useless organs, as long as he could get on the field and play. That’s what went down on Sunday when he was finally given the word that he would be the Chiefs starting quarterback against the Rams. …Read More!

Column: Hey Chiefs Fans – A QB Has Landed

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

The subject was leadership and the voice belonged to Chiefs G Brian Waters.

“Part of being a leader is not only being a vocal leader, but also being a guy of action,” Waters said in the moments after the Chiefs 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams. “What he did today was show us he was ready to put it all on the line. As a football team you definitely want to follow suit.

“He’s definitely the leader of this football team.”

“He” was Matt Cassel and all that the Chiefs quarterback did on Sunday was step on the field and play against the Rams. He showed unequivocally that he’s a man of action.

“It’s definitely extraordinary,” said RB Thomas Jones. “He wanted to come out and help us win, and he did.”

On the subject of Cassel there were a lot of non-believers as the Chiefs went off to training camp some 20 weeks ago. Without a doubt, the “Cassel isn’t the Guy” club was larger than those with tickets to the “Cassel is the Man” bus.

  …Read More!

Chiefs Mow Down Rams in 27-13 victory

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Maybe it’s the Missouri water.

Sporting a 6-0 record at home this season, the Chiefs traveled down I-70 and found another Missouri victory, dominating the St. Louis Rams 27-13 and walking off with the Governor’s Cup Trophy.

The outcome certainly leaves them with good feelings as they keep their spot on top of the AFC West at 9-5 and with only two games remaining in the regular season, they head to Arrowhead Stadium to finish up the schedule against Tennessee and Oakland.

“We are going home and we have everything to play for,” said DE Wallace Gilberry, the leader of the team’s defensive effort against the Rams with three sacks. “Tennessee is next. That’s what we’ll work on starting tomorrow. Until then we are going to enjoy the heck out of this game.”

There was a certain Arrowhead feel to the Dome on this December Sunday. Red was everywhere in the stands and at the end of the national anthem, the roar of “home of the Chiefs” drowned out the high school band that was performing the song. With things wrapped up in the fourth quarter, the Rams fans left and the Chiefs supporters stayed and did the Arrowhead chop chant.

“We get to go back home to Arrowhead where the guys are getting more and more comfortable,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Our fans have really amped it up. We are just trying to reach our goal of winning three games.” …Read More!

Chiefs Hold First Place After Beating Rams

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

Their offensive leader returned and that helped put a little spark back in the Chiefs offense on Sunday as they traveled down I-70 and returned home with a 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Eleven days after his appendectomy, QB Matt Cassel started for the Chiefs and led them to a pair of second quarter touchdowns that allowed K.C. to control the game. They never lost the momentum in putting away their ninth victory of the season.  What also helped is they got their running game going again, picking up over 210 yards, including an 80-yard run by Jamaal Charles.

Defensively, they held the Rams to a single offensive touchdown and DE Wallace Gilberry had a big day with three sacks and FS Kendrick Lewis contributed a pair of fourth quarter interceptions of St. Louis QB Sam Bradford.

At 9-5, they retain their one-game lead over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West and they returned to Kansas City knowing their final two regular-season games will be played at Arrowhead Stadium where they are now 6-0 on the season.

In losing, the Rams are now 6-8 but they remain alive in the NFC West because they have two division games left against San Francisco and Seattle

As always there were plenty of story lines coming out of this game. Here’s our coverage:

  • GAME STORY: Chiefs mow down Rams.
  • COLUMN: KC, you’ve got a QB.
  • SIDEBAR: Cassel knew he would play.
  • SIDEBAR: Charles limps to another 100-yard day.
  • SIDEBAR – Thomas Jones joins the legends.
  • SIDEBAR – Defense controls Jackson, Bradford.
  • NOTES & QUOTES – Rams don’t respond.
  • REPORT CARD – Chiefs have a nice day of grades.
  • AROUND THE AFC WEST – Raiders still alive.

Pre-Game – Chiefs vs. Rams

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

QB Matt Cassel on the active list for today’s game. Went through pre-game warm-up with the whole team like he’s going to start at quarterback. No official word from the Chiefs. More details below.

10 a.m. CST – Good morning from the ‘Loo, where today the Chiefs and Rams are glad they have a dome to play in today. The weather outside is cold, and there were some big, fluffy snowflakes falling at times. But inside, they say it will be 70 degrees. How warm it may become depends on the sometimes less than interested Rams fans. Based on the streets of downtown last night and this morning there will be plenty of red in the crowd this afternoon.

10:01 a.m. – No sign yet of QB Matt Cassel. In the last hour he did not come out for any type of warm-up or workout. The pitchers and catchers are out early for their pre-pre-game session and Cassel is not with them. But, he seldom gets out for the first five or 10 minutes.

10:02 a.m. – Out for early individual workouts are C Rudy Niswanger and FB Tim Castille; an early indication of our first two inactive players for today.

10:03 a.m. - OLB Tamba Hali is out for his normal pre-game workout with Grand Master Joe Kim. In these 20-minute sessions of hand-to-hand fighting, Hali gets a full day’s workout in before the game even starts.

10:07 a.m. – Matt Cassel makes his first appearance on the field. Right now he’s doing some light tossing to warm up and he’s not joined the pre-pre-game passing routine just yet. He’s wearing a wrap around his lower torso, the same one he was wearing during practice this past week. He’s now stopped to chat up backup Rams QB A.J. Feeley.

10:13 a.m. – Matt Cassel is NOT taking part in the throwing session, a pretty good indication that he’s going to be designated inactive today, probably as the No. 3 quarterback. It’s hard to believe that Cassel would be playing if he’s not throwing in this session. Right now, he’s standing behind Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko and watching them throw.

…Read More!

A Return To Relevance … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

From St. Louis, Missouri

For three years it was the Bermuda Triangle of professional football. The 250 miles from Arrowhead Stadium to the Edward Jones Dome was devoid of NFL victories as competent football disappeared in waves of losing.

In the 2007-08-09 seasons, the Chiefs and Rams, along with the Detroit Lions were the worst teams in the league. St. Louis had a 6-42 record, Detroit was 9-39 and the Chiefs finished 10-38.

But the winds of change blew down I-70 and almost two full years after major remodeling in both the Chiefs and Rams franchises, they are NFL teams that are relevant again. They are a combined 14-12.

And Sunday, they face each other at the Edward Jones Dome. Kickoff is just after 12 noon with television coverage from CBS with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts on the microphones.

Four months ago it would have seemed silly to have predicted that in the 15th week of the regular season these teams would roll into this Governor’s Cup match-up with something on the line. Both teams are fighting for division titles. The Chiefs begin the day on top of the AFC West with an 8-5 record. San Diego is chasing them, and already has this week’s outcome included in their 8-6 record. If the Chiefs win all three of their remaining games, they will be division champions for the first time since 2003.   …Read More!

Tidbits From The ‘Looo

From St. Louis, Missouri

Steven Jackson is the Ernie Banks of his football generation.

Banks became Mr. Cub over his Hall of Fame playing career, where he played 2,528 games without appearing in the post-season. No World Series, no National League pennants for the man who became famous for the saying “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame, let’s play two.”

Jackson’s career with the St. Louis Rams has not yet had the longevity of Banks’ tenure with the Cubs. And in his rookie season back in 2004, he actually got a taste of the NFL playoffs, playing in two games that year for St. Louis.

Since then, he’s become the Rams featured back and it’s come at a time when the franchise has gone through an incredibly bad stretch, so bad that it has obscured just how good he has been – possibly the NFL’s best running back over the last decade.

“I thought it would be an every-year thing,” Jackson said this week. “I thought the playoffs would be something I would be accustomed to. God willing, we make it back this time, I won’t take it for granted. I’ll take every play like I won’t be back.”

The Rams have a chance this year in the awful NFC West; they may win the division title with a losing record. Jackson and his teammates could care less about the record if it means a trip to the playoffs. Since 2005 when he replaced Marshall Faulk as the team’s leading running back, the Rams have gone 26-67, including a 6-42 record over the most recent three seasons. …Read More!

New Orleans Bowl: Ohio vs. Troy

As the college bowl season starts, we will check up on the participants and NFL prospects that will be part of the game.


  Ohio (8-4)

Best prospect: #11 WR Terrence McCrae, 6-2 ¾, 198 pounds, 4.45 seconds, Redshirt-Senior – He led the Bobcats in receiving during. the ’10 season with 32 catches for 481 yards and nine TD catches. He’s now the school’s career leader in scoring catches with 19. McCrae dealt with an ankle injury early in the season. A very good athlete who was named his high school’s offensive and defensive MVP in his senior year. His career numbers are 82 catches for 1,173 yards and 19 touchdowns. …Read More!

Humanitarian Bowl: No. Illinois vs. Fresno St.

As the college bowl season starts, we will check up on the participants and NFL prospects that will be part of the games.

  • SATURDAY/4:30 P.M. on ESPN

Northern Illinois (10-3)

Best prospect: #28 RB Chad Spann, 5-7½, 198 pounds, 4.58 seconds, Senior – Spann was named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. He’s had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and so far in his career over 49 games, he’s produced 2,958 yards in offense (2,760 rushing/198 receiving) and scored 28 total TDs. This season he has run for 1,239 yards on 226 carries, an average of 103.2 yards per game. Spann is not much of a receiver out of the backfield; he caught just nine passes this year for 45 yards.

…Read More!

All Hands On Deck … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

This is the 20th week of the 2010 NFL season.

That’s two weeks of training camp, four weeks of the pre-season and then 14 weeks so far of the regular season.

As the Chiefs wrapped up their 20th week on Friday it was done with a remarkable achievement. For the third consecutive day the Chiefs had all 61 available players on the practice field and participating.

That’s 53 on the active roster and eight on the practice squad. They have only one player on the official NFL injury report that was turned in on Friday afternoon for all teams that will play on Sunday. QB Matt Cassel practiced on a limited basis on Friday and made the injury report as questionable.

Otherwise it was all hands on deck. That just does not happen in an NFL filled with the type of collisions that these players have experienced for 20 weeks. Of the 29 other teams that have already turned in this week’s injury report – only the Monday night participants Minnesota and Chicago have not reported – there’s an average of 8.9 players on their injury reports. (See the chart).   …Read More!

New Mexico Bowl: BYU vs. UTEP

As the college bowl season starts, we will check up on the participants and NFL prospects that will be part of these games. This should help your December scouting.


Brigham Young University (6-6)

Best prospect: #22 SS Andrew Rich, 6-2½, 218 pounds, 4.65 seconds, Senior – Rich led BYU in tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles, recovered fumbles and pass breakups. He was voted to the first-team All-Mountain West Conference defense. In 38 games at BYU, he has eight interceptions and 217 total tackles and six forced fumbles. Rich served a church mission for two years in Oregon, so he’s on the older end of the age scale. “He’s exactly what we want from a BYU football player – how he conducts himself, how he plays, who he is, how he leads,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. …Read More!

Friday 12/17 Practice Report-Update2

From the Truman Sports Complex

Head coach Todd Haley said QB Matt Cassel was limited in his participation in the team’s Friday practice and was listed as questionable when the league’s official injury report came out Friday afternoon.

Under the league’s definition, questionable means there’s a 50-50 chance that Cassel will play on Sunday.

Haley indicated a decision on whether Cassel will play likely will go down to pre-game on Sunday in St. Louis.  “It will probably go right up to the wire with what we’re able to do with Matt,” Haley said.

Ultimately the decision will be made by medical personnel along with Haley, the emphasis being on the medical personnel. “Because this isn’t your run-of-the-mill injury that a lot of us have a lot of experience with so we do have to lean to the doctors a bunch in making sure that the right thing’s being done,” said Haley.

And if doctors say Cassel should not play, Haley will follow that advice?

“Absolutely,” Haley said. “Player safety is number one in any situation, but obviously in this one that we have less experience on than other things.”

Cassel was still limited in the stretching period of Friday’s practice, as he did not do any of the moves that put any strain on the abdominal area. But once they broke into football moves, he threw the ball with good velocity and power. Cassel was quicker in setting up to throw, his footwork was better than in recent days and he was using his entire body, not just his arm to throw the ball.

For the third consecutive day, all 61 available players were working on the practice field.

Down I-70 in the ‘Loo, the Rams ruled TE Mike Hoomanawanui (ankle) out of Sunday’s game. Listed as questionable were LB David Nixon (hand) and RB Ken Darby (chest). Listed as probable were CB Ron Bartell (neck), P Donnie Jones (illness) and G Jacob Bell (knee).

Not Many Happy Returns … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

Javier Arenas wrinkled up his nose and grimaced.

“Oh man, I’m so tired of waiting for something to happen,” the Chiefs rookie CB-Returner said in the Chiefs locker room this week. “I’m thirsty for the end zone. I need a drink from the end zone.

“We’ve been close, we really have. We just need to break through.”

Arenas was talking about something that began the season with so much promise for the Chiefs – the return game on special teams.

After years of struggling to get anything out of punt and kickoff returns, there appeared great hope in second-round draft choices Arenas and Dexter McCluster. In the pre-season, they had returns of 41, 44 and 54 yards made all the more impressive since the blocking units were made up of many players who are no longer with the team or in the NFL for that matter.

Then came the Monday night season opener against San Diego. In what was a prelude of the problems the Chargers would suffer from during the 2010 season, McCluster and Arenas ripped the coverage units. McCluster had a 94-yard punt return touchdown, and he and Arenas added other returns of 36, 26 and 24 yards.

Anything seemed possible every time the ball left the foot of the opponent’s kicker or punter and hung in the air. Arenas had eight return TDs during his college career at Alabama, and McCluster’s speed, quickness and shiftiness made him a perfect for the job in the NFL.   …Read More!

Thursday 12/16 Practice Report-Update2

From the Truman Sports Complex

There were no updates on QB Matt Cassel after Thursday’s practice.

Head coach Todd Haley said the situation remains day-to-day. In the locker room after practice, Cassel said only that “he felt good” and that everything in practice “went well.”

Cassel was taking a regular part in all the drills during the window given the media to watch practice. Whether progress was made from Wednesday to Thursday is debatable. The Chiefs listed him as limited in participation on their official practice/injury report for the day.

But Haley made it plain that the coaching staff was getting Brodie Croyle ready to start as well as Cassel.

“You don’t know exactly how it’s going to turnout and even in best case scenario and everything goes well and Matt is out there, you still have to be prepared.”  Haley said. “It’s a balancing act to get both guys to be ready in all scenarios.”

Haley also said he would not rely only on Cassel’s assessment of his health in making the decision on his status for Sunday’s game in St. Louis.

“He is competitive and he wants to play and that does make it challenging,” Haley said. “You’ve got guys that want to be in there no matter what. That’s why you’ve got a medical staff and trainers that you really trust and have great confidence in to make the right decision.”

In the stretching segment, any move or stretch that would put any type of strain on the lower torso was something that Cassel did not do. That’s not a good sign. …Read More!

Practice Soothes Pain … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

When Matt Cassel woke up last Wednesday morning he had a pain in his side.

He’d noticed some discomfort the night before when he was at the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Mercy Hospital with his charity Shadow Buddies. As the night wore on and he returned home and hit the sack, the pain increased.

Now, an NFL quarterback who had played a game just two days before is going to have a lot of pains that show up during the days afterwards. But this was different and it was still there when Cassel drove into the team’s facility early Wednesday morning to start his day.

“I came in and told D.P (Dave Price) our trainer and he was able to contact the doctor,” Cassel said. “They did a quick examination and they said we needed to go in because they thought it was appendicitis. They did all the tests and stuff and decided they had to take it out.”

And thus began a painful and difficult week for the Chiefs quarterback. One that really didn’t end until late Wednesday morning when he was with his team and taking part in the first practice of the week in preparation for the trip to St. Louis and Sunday’s game against the Rams.

“I think it is a pretty useless organ from what they tell me,” Cassel said. “I don’t know if it has much purpose, but I feel like a new man with it out of there.”

…Read More!

Scenarios For NFL Playoffs – Week #15

This type of stuff makes my head hurt, but it’s the time of year for figuring out possible scenarios for the NFL playoffs. Certainly, this year it has a bit more interest with the Chiefs in the thick of things.

Here’s what the league has sent down this week on each AFC team that could clinch a spot in the playoffs this weekend. Essentially Jacksonville is the only team that could punch a ticket to the playoffs by themselves this weekend with a victory. Every other team would need help:


CLINCHED: New England – playoff spot.

STILL ALIVE: Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, New York Jets, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Tennessee


New England clinches AFC East division and a first-round bye with:

  • NE win + NYJ loss or tie OR
  • NE tie + NYJ loss …Read More!

Opponent: St. Louis Rams

2010 record: 6-7, tied for first in the NFC West. The Rams have beaten Washington (by 14 points), Seattle (17), San Diego (3), Carolina (10), Denver (3) and Arizona (13). They lost to Arizona (4), Oakland (2), Detroit (38), Tampa Bay (1), San Francisco (3 in OT), Atlanta (17) and New Orleans (18).

Last year’s record: 1-15, last in the NFC West and the worst record in the NFL.

Record for the last five seasons: 20-60, with three last-place finishes in the division and a pair of second place finishes.

Last appearance in the playoffs: came in 2004, when they were an NFC wildcard with an 8-8 record. The Rams beat Seattle 27-20, but then lost in the next round to Atlanta 47-17.

Owner: E. Stanley Kroenke is now the majority owner of the franchise, although some 60 percent of that apparently is in the name of his wife Ann. She’s from the Walton Family, yes those Waltons of Wal-Mart fame. Her father was Bud, brother of Sam who founded the retail giant. Kroenke’s purchase of the majority share of the franchise was completed on August 25, 2010, when his acquisition was approved by the NFL owners. He bought the rest of the team from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriquez, who were the heirs of Georgia Frontiere’s estate. Kroenke bought his original 40 percent in the team in 1995 and facilitated the movement of the franchise from Anaheim, California to St. Louis. Kroenke is chairman and owner of The Kroenke Group, a real estate investment and development company headquartered in Columbia, MO. He also is owner of the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Rapids of the MLS and the Colorado Mammoth, a franchise in the National Lacrosse League. Kroenke is also the largest single shareholder of the Arsenal Football Club in England’s Premier League soccer. …Read More!

Wednesday 12/15 Practice Report-Update2

From the Truman Sports Complex

After the 31-0 loss in San Diego, veteran guard Brian Waters said the best thing the Chiefs could do in the aftermath is forget the game and move on.

Based on the tone of the Chiefs locker room after Wednesday’s practice, they have done that.  Certainly, OLB Tamba Hali did, as he sat in front of his locker with what appeared to be an I-Pad and basically was holding a karaoke-rap session with some of his teammates. They were having a good time.

“I think you can tell by the vibe in here that this team has put that behind us,” Waters said on Wednesday. “That’s what good teams have to do.”

It didn’t hurt the vibe of the locker room that they got through practice with their starting quarterback Matt Cassel taking part in the work. The Chiefs called his participation limited in the workout, but he was on the field, throwing the ball and taking snaps with the No. 1 offense.

“I think right now we are day-to-day,” Cassel said of his status for playing on Sunday in St. Louis. “The trainers and coaches will discuss it and we’ll proceed with caution and see where I’m at.”

His teammates did not see anything different from Cassel.

“He looked just like Matt always looks,” said WR Terrance Copper. “You couldn’t tell there was anything wrong with him.” …Read More!

It’s The Little Things … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Check out any book of great quotes and there will be a chapter on the little things. No matter the culture or time in history, philosophers have always had something to say about life’s minutia:

Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things … All good work is done the way ants do things, little by little … It’s the little things that make the big things possible … The person determined to achieve success learns that progress is made one step at a time … Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.

And, then there is this one from a great football philosopher:

Inches make champions.

That was part of the thinking of a fellow named Vince Lombardi.

And it’s what the Chiefs coaching staff will hammer into the players when they return to practice on Wednesday, getting ready for Sunday’s game in St. Louis against the Rams.

“We’ve got to get back to work on the little things,” head coach Todd Haley said. “This time of year in December, the little things become even more critical and that’s what ultimately wins and losses games for you. That’s what we’re working on.”

In football, the little things are exactly what you might think they are. It’s knowledge and understanding of the assignments, knowing your position on the field, working techniques and fundamentals correctly, and basic themes like not giving the ball away on offense, and tackling on defense.

“We have to do a much better job here of making sure that our guys understand what they need to do from a fundamental (side) – the little things,” said Haley. “This time of year, that’s really what we’re trying to help our guys understand is you get away with some little things every once in awhile, especially early in the year. But this time of year, the fourth quarter of the season, you’re not going to. So your fundamentals have to be right on point.”

…Read More!

Enrique’s Epic & Fails – Week 14



Congratulations to Tyson Jackson. On a day when the Chiefs played like they were dead, Jackson proved to us that he’s alive, by virtue of his first career sack. I guess that I can stop dialing 911; I’ll make sure to pass along word of this development to my fellow Chiefs fans; and I’ll most certainly call off the dogs. It took nearly two years, but we finally found our man – literally. Hopefully, the flood gates will be open from here on out.

…Read More!

Numbers From Game No. 13

The last two weeks have exposed a problem that the Chiefs must solve if they hope to reach the playoffs – let alone make any kind of run.

They . . . must . . . stop . . . the . . . run.

I know. It’s not sexy. But consider this – give up a big play in the passing game, write it off to one guy getting beat. Give up 207 yards rushing as the Chiefs did Sunday against San Diego, and 11 guys got the crap beat out of them. Give up 368 yards rushing in the past two games against San Diego and Denver and that is 11 guys getting the crap beat out of them for two straight weeks.

Following the shutout loss to the Chargers, Coach Todd Haley said the Broncos and Chargers have not found any magic blueprint other teams could use to attack the Chiefs suddenly meek run defense.

“They ran a couple of the same plays,” Haley said. “We were in position, and we missed tackles – which is not something we have done a lot this year. When we have been in position, we have been a pretty good fundamentally tackling team. Yesterday (against San Diego) we did not do that. This time of year, your fundamentals just have to be right on point.”

He says the team does tackling drills – even 12, 13 games into the season when everyone is beat up and bruised. …Read More!

A Damage Control Monday … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

The Chiefs and Chargers were still playing on the field Sunday in San Diego when Todd Haley began the process of figuring out what went wrong.

That’s how bad things had gotten in the fourth quarter of the 31-0 debacle – there was time to access the damage even before the car came to a complete stop after the accident. They were doing the autopsy before the patient was pronounced dead.

“We did a lot of talking over the headsets as the game was winding down,” Haley said. “You go back through and you figure out what you personally could have done better to make the outcome be different. If all of us do that, we’ll have a chance to make progress out of this.”

Progress is going to be the only way the Chiefs recover from what has to go down as a learning experience for this team. Many of these players were in this position for the first time in their young careers and they learned a valuable lesson – when the calendar turns to December in the NFL, the intensity level goes up for those teams fighting for spots in the post-season tournament.

Haley talked about it last week, how the point was being made to the team that each quarter of the season requires a step up on the intensity level.

That certainly was what the Chiefs were missing against San Diego. They weren’t missing intensity; they were without an intensity level to match that of the Chargers.

“Right from the start, we did not come out and match the level of intensity they had,” said veteran guard Brian Waters.   …Read More!

Day-Old Fish Tacos From ‘Diego

From San Diego, California

Seldom does a statistic like third-down conversion tell the story of a football game.

But it did on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. The story of the Chargers 31-0 beat down of the Chiefs can be seen on third down:

  • Chargers converted 11 of 15 third down plays, a 73 percent success rate.
  • Chiefs were shutout, just like they were on the scoreboard, 0 for 11, for a 0 percent success rate.

“We couldn’t stay on the field and we couldn’t get them off the field,” said LG Brian Waters. “That led to everything.”

Everything as in long touchdown drives for the Chargers and nothing for the Chiefs. San Diego had only one of its nine possessions that was three plays and out. On the other hand, the Chiefs had 10 possessions and six of them were three plays and out.

That’s how you gain 25 first downs, while your opponent gets only five. That’s how a time of possession advantage of 20 minutes, 20 seconds is built.   …Read More!

Sunday’s Best Performances – 12/12


  • 96 – New Orleans CB Michael Jenkins INT return for TD vs. St. Louis (W).
  • 92 – Seattle RB Leon Washington kickoff return TD vs. San Francisco (L).
  • 91 – Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson TD pass vs. Dallas (W).
  • 74 – Jacksonville RB Rashad Jennings TD run vs. Oakland (W).
  • 69 – Miami P Brandon Fields punt vs. N.Y. Jets (W).
  • 67 – Oakland RB Darren McFadden TD catch vs. Jacksonville (L).
  • 67 – Cincinnati P Kevin Huber vs. Pittsburgh (L).
  • 65 – Jacksonville RB Deji Karim kickoff return vs. Oakland (W).
  • 64 – Tampa Bay WR Arrelious Benn catch vs. Washington (W).
  • 62 – San Francisco RB Brian Westbrook TD catch vs. Seattle (W).


…Read More!


The Chiefs can still win the division on their own, but only if the win all remaining games. If they lose just one, they need SD to lose at least one as well. Here are the scenarios with thanks to Dirk Scholl.

Chiefs win 3:

  • Chiefs are 11-5 and take the division.
  • Best OAK can get is 8-8, best SD can get is 10-6.

Chiefs win 2:

  • It’s irrelevant which games the Chiefs win. The only difference would be the final standings of OAK and the way SD wins the tie-breaker.
  • If the Chiefs lose just one game SD will take the division by winning out.
  • With two more wins the Chiefs are 10-6.
  • SD must win all 3 to go 10-6.

In that case:

  • Face-to-face tie-breaker: push.
  • Next tie-breaker: Standings within the division: KC 3-3 (if KC wins over OAK), 2-4 (else); SD 3-3: SD may win already this tie-breaker.
  • Next tie-breaker: Standings in common games: KC 7-5, SD 8-4. SD wins.

Chiefs win 1:

  • Chiefs end the season at 9-7.
  • SD may get to 10-6 but will hold the tie-breaker over KC even if they lose one game.
  • By winning all three remaining games OAK may get to 9-7 as well. In that case OAK win the face-to-face tie-breaker over both SD and KC.

Around The AFC WEST – 12/12

The Chiefs stayed on top, the Chargers gained ground and stayed alive and the Raiders shot themselves in the foot.

That was the results of Week No. 14 in the NFL as San Diego was the only division team to come out on the winning end, with their 31-0 victory over the Chiefs.

So now the standings have the Chiefs at 8-5, the Chargers are 7-6, the Raiders 6-7 and the Broncos 3-10.

Coming up, the Chiefs travel to St. Louis, the Chargers host San Francisco this Thursday, Oakland hosts Denver next Sunday. Here’s what went down in the other division games on Sunday.

Jaguars 38, Raiders 31 @ EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

The Raiders held a 10-point lead at half-time and looked like they were on their way to staying in the AFC West race for another week.

But then Jaguars hit them in the second half with big play after big play and walked away with the seven-point victory.

Oakland RB Darren McFadden did his best to give the Raiders a chance. He had touchdown runs of 36, 51 and 67 yards. Overall, he finished with 123 rushing yards on 16 carries and he caught three passes for 86 yards. Still, the Raiders lost.

“It’s very frustrating,” McFadden said. “A game like that it don’t mean nothing if you don’t win.”

It was the Raiders defense that gave up big plays in the second half, as Jacksonville RBs Maurice Jones-Drew (101 yards) and Rashad Jennings (109 yards) both went over the 100-yard mark.

“At critical points of the game, we just didn’t make the plays,” said Raiders DT Richard Seymour. “When it came down to it, we gave up too many big plays on defense. You aren’t going to beat anybody doing that.”

The outcome left the Jags one game ahead of the Colts in the AFC South. The Raiders are now 6-7, and still two games behind the Chiefs.

Cardinals 43, Broncos 13 @ University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale

Things continue to go from bad to worse for the Broncos, appearing in their first game under interim head coach Eric Studesville who last week replaced Josh McDaniels.

There was no great boost from the change, as Denver turned over the ball six times, including three interceptions thrown by QB Kyle Orton. Even with Orton having a bad day with 19 of 41 for 166 yards, the new coach said he did not consider inserting rookie QB Tim Tebow.

“We did not feel like Kyle was in a position that we needed to do that,” said Studesville.

The game was actually pretty close until the fourth quarter, when the Cardinals scored 24 points to make it a runaway victory.

“We got beat by a team that showed more energy and more will,” Broncos linebacker Mario Haggan said. “We gave some effort for a little while, but at the end, it got out of hand.”

The victory ended a seven-game losing streak for Arizona. The Broncos have now lost eight of their last nine games.

Chargers Play Again Thursday

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

There will not be a lot of time for the Chargers to celebrate their victory over the Chiefs.

They’ve got the Thursday night game coming up, hosting San Francisco just four days after their 31-0 blast of the Chiefs that kept alive their post-season hopes for another year.

“Our coaches have been preparing for the last couple days,” said Chargers head man Norv Turner. “It’s fortunate that we don’t travel. It’s nice to be at home.”

And it’s nice to still have something to play for. The Chargers are now 7-6 and they remain alive in the AFC playoffs.

“We never felt like we were out of it,” said Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. “We knew what we had coming up this week and we know what’s ahead. We can only control what we can control and that’s our next game against the 49ers. We want to look up on January 2 and know we’ve did all we could do.”

It’s helpful to the Chargers chances since they’ve finally got WR Vincent Jackson on the field and relatively healthy. Jackson caught two passes for 29 yards, his first catches of the season. Having him back was a spark for the San Diego offense, especially with TE Antonio Gates sidelined due to a foot injury.

“It was good to get him through a whole game and get him going again,” said Rivers.

The Chargers had everything going on Sunday and that impressed their quarterback.

“Everybody chipped in,” said Rivers. “The guys up front were awesome. I can’t say enough about the defense, they were unbelievable. Anytime you have no third down conversions, you’re not going to lose when they play that way regardless of what we do.”


The ugliest thing about what went down for the Chiefs came on offense. The last time they were shutout was 39 games ago, when they lost 34-0 to Carolina in the 2008 season.

With 67 net offensive yards, that’s the second lowest total in team history. Only a November 1963 game against Oakland produced fewer yards. That time it was 62 yards. It’s only the third time in 51 seasons where the Chiefs did not manage at least 100 yards in offense.

The 19 net yards passing was the fifth lowest total in team history. It’s the lowest total since the 1979 season when the Chiefs had 15 yards against Seattle.


For the Chiefs, both CB Javier Arenas and WR/RB Dexter McCluster were out of the action in the second half. Arenas left the field at one point, but came back with his right ankle heavily taped. He did not return to the game. McCluster got rocked on a helmet-to-helmet hit by former Chiefs TE Kris Wilson and did not return.

During the game, FS Jon McGraw left the field for awhile with what appeared to be a neck injury. He did return.

The Chargers actually release a post-game injury report – imagine that! – and they listed DE Jacques Cesaire (knee), LB Brandon Siler (ribs), LT Marcus McNeill (knee) and WR Malcom Floyd (shoulder).


The Chargers announced paid attendance at 66,780 and unlike the numbers the Chiefs release for the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium this was a real number of butts in the seats. There were very few empty seats, which was remarkable given the beautiful weather and the other options there are in San Diego. Plus, the game was on local television.

San Diego is always one of the few places where the crowd can be heard singing along with the national anthem; it must be the military presence that is so much a part of San Diego. A good number of Chiefs fans were in the stands, and they could be heard with the “home of the Chiefs” over the Chargers crowd.

It was a noisy environment but not so much that the Chiefs had trouble handling the situation on offense. They did not have a false start penalty.


This was a mixed bag on the day for the Chiefs. They needed a push from the kicking game and did not get it from returns.

KICKOFFS – Just one for Ryan Succop and he nailed it, sending the opening kickoff of the second half six yards deep in the end zone. San Diego’s Darren Sproles brought the kick out for 27 yards, but that put the ball only on the Chiefs 21-yard line.

PUNTS – Dustin Colquitt was a busy guy, booting the ball eight times in the game. Overall, he averaged 45.6 yards, with a 61-yard long punt. He also put three punts inside the 20-yard line. His punts went for 48, 49, 49, 35, 61, 37, 35 and 51 yards. His worst kick was the 35-yarder in the fourth quarter.

COVERAGE – The kickoff team got on the field once, giving up a 27-yard return to Sproles. On punt returns, Antoine Cason had five for 76 yards, a 15.2-yard average with a long return of 42 yards. Press box stats had WR Verran Tucker with four tackles. Others who got credit for coverage in the kicking game were LB Demorrio Williams, LS Thomas Gafford and LB Andy Studebaker.

RETURNS – Nothing happening for the Chiefs. WR/RB Dexter McCluster handled most of the returns until he got rocked on one kickoff and then Tucker stepped in and handle the duties. McCluster had three kick returns for an average of 20.7 with a long return of 28 yards. Tucker had two returns for a 20-yard average. McCluster had one punt return for 11 yards.


The crew led by Walt Anderson came into the game as one of the least active groups in the league when it comes to throwing the yellow hanky. They lived up to that reputation, as they walked off only eight penalties for 62 yards in the game.

They got the Chiefs for just a pair of penalties both in the second half:

  1. Offense, holding, RT Barry Richardson, minus-10 yards.
  2. Offense, illegal formation, Richardson, minus-5 yards.

One other flag was thrown on DB Travis Daniels for defensive holding, but that call was declined because the receiver he was holding, Kelley Washington caught the pass for a 20-yard gain.

Todd Haley challenged one call in the second half, when he disputed where punt returner Antoine Cason went out of bounds. But Anderson did not change the call.


With QB Brodie Croyle starting and QB Tyler Palko getting into the game in the fourth quarter, they became the 55th and 56th players to appear in a regular-season game.

There were no surprises among the inactive players for the Chiefs, as QB Matt Cassel was the only player who was on the list because of his health. Joining him were DB Donald Washington, CB Mike Richardson, FB Tim Castille, LB Corey Mays, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger and DT Anthony Toribio.

Jon McGraw started the game at free safety, but Kendrick Lewis played most of the game there.

Over on the Chargers side, they did not have starting TE Antonio Gates, starting WR Patrick Crayton, starting RG Louis Vasquez and DL Travis Johnson, SS Darrell Stuckey, S Tyrone Carter, RB Curtis Brinkley and they listed WR Legedu Naanee as their inactive third quarterback. He did not play.

Press box statistics said G Jon Asamoah was the only Chiefs player who did not play. That was due largely to the fact the Chiefs did not have a FG or PAT attempt – Asamoah serves as the left tackle on that protection unit.

Chiefs Go Goose Egg In San Diego

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Looking like anything but a team that was trying to seal away a division championship in December, the Chiefs got smacked and smacked hard by the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, losing 31-0.

Sadly that score sadly didn’t speak to the total domination by the Chargers who had to win to keep alive faint hopes of their fifth consecutive AFC West championship. Well they are very much alive, as their offense, defense and special teams had little trouble with the division leader.

The Chiefs are now 8-5, the Chargers are 7-6 and the Raiders ended up losing on Sunday in Jacksonville, so they are now 6-7 on the season. There are three weeks to go in the regular season. Had they won, the Chiefs would have a three-game lead with three to play. Instead, they now have a one-game lead with three to play.

Without a doubt, the Chiefs missed starting QB Matt Cassel who was home in Kansas City, recovering from his appendectomy from Wednesday. But it would be hard to say the Chiefs got blasted by the Chargers because Cassel was missing. Backup Brodie Croyle did not play well, but he did not have a lot of help. Pass protection broke down and the Chiefs were unable to mount any type of running game to take the pressure off Croyle.

Defensively, they got run over by a smash-mouth offense for the Chargers that ran for 207 yards.

As always there are a lot of angles on this one and we’ve got them all:

  • GAME STORY: Failure in all areas for Chiefs.
  • COLUMN: Forget this one quick.
  • SIDEBAR: Brodie gets no help.
  • SIDEBAR: Chiefs defense gets smashed.
  • SIDEBAR: Charles is embarrassed by shutout.
  • NOTES: Chargers keep hope alive.
  • REPORT CARD: Chiefs fail everything.
  • AFC WEST REPORT: Raiders, Broncos lose.

Report Card – Chiefs vs. Chargers

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

RUSHING OFFENSE: D – There were not the opportunities to run the football, so it’s hard to fail the run game completely. But the runners could have helped with better results in the first half, when they couldn’t get anything moving and ended up averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. Three runs like that and it’s time to punt. The Chiefs offensive line couldn’t move the Chargers out of the way.

PASSING OFFENSE: F – It’s not easy when the starting QB isn’t on the field and a guy who hasn’t thrown a pass all season is taking the snaps. No one expected an aerial circus from the Chiefs and Croyle. But what was produced was beyond awful. Just 19 net passing yards – that’s ridiculous. Protection was poor, drops were all about and whether Croyle was throwing the ball well didn’t really matter.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – The arrow is pointing down on the Chiefs defense against the run recently. Last week, Denver was able to run pretty well in the second half against them and then the Chargers came out and shoved the ball down their throat. The Chiefs helped with some very poor tackling, as the San Diego backs got plenty of yards after contact. No team is going to win much giving up over 200 yards on the ground.

PASS DEFENSE: D – This part of the team would have gotten an F as well, but they at least provided opportunities in the second half for the offense to make something happen. Eric Berry’s interception and Tamba Hali’s sack and forced fumble gave the Chiefs a pair of turnovers that the offense frittered away. They got to Philip Rivers only twice in 26 pass plays. They did not give up a big passing play – the longest completion was 20 yards – but they played deep safeties and allowed room to run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – Nothing got done here and if ever there was a time when the Chiefs needed help from their kick game it was on this afternoon. P Dustin Colquitt had a pretty good game, although his net average was blasted by a 42-yard return by San Diego’s Antoine Cason. McCluster got nothing on returns and Arenas never touched the ball.

COACHING: F – The Chiefs went into the game handicapped by not having their starting quarterback. Offensively, they showed little or no confidence in Brodie Croyle as they started with a very conservative game plan and by the time they got out of it, the game was over. Defensively, they did nothing to slow down the Chargers. The Chiefs could not match the intensity of the Chargers and that’s an area that coaching is responsible for helping to generate.

K.C. Run Game Embarrassed By Bolts

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

“It was an embarrassing game. They embarrassed us.”

That was the assessment of RB Jamaal Charles after the 31-0 pasting the Chiefs took from the Chargers on Sunday.

For a team that runs the ball as well as the Chiefs have done all season, it was a game where they got nothing going for them on the ground. They finished with just 48 yards on 17 carries. It’s only the second time this season they’ve been held under 100 yards. The other game was the blowout loss they suffered in Denver when they ran for 51 yards.

It was a total domination, or as Charles said, an embarrassment.

“I thought the first time we played them well and then we gave up a couple big plays with one or two guys getting out of position,” said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. “That was the big emphasis: don’t let them get outside, don’t’ get out of position, be physical in the running game and make sure everyone sets an edge whether you’re an outside linebacker or a defensive back who has containment.

“We did not let them get outside – that’s where they make most of their big plays. That’s where they make their big yardage. Our guys understood what we had to do. We were physical inside.”

They were physical and they dominated the line of scrimmage. By half-time, they held a 21-0 lead and in the second half there really wasn’t much of an opportunity for the Chiefs to run the ball. They did it eight times for 14 yards.

“We knew what to expect and the type of challenging backs that they had,” said Chargers DE Luis Castillo. “We knew the scheme that they had. For us, it was a matter of doing a better job than last week at stopping the run.”

Oh yeah, last week against the Raiders on the same field they hammered the Chiefs, San Diego allowed 251 rushing yards. It was the major reason they ended up losing the game and putting themselves in a must win position against the Chiefs.

“After last week we went back to work and put our hard hats on and got our lunch pails,” said DT Antonio Garay. “Our coaches put us in great position. We want back to basics to make sure we stayed with our key points and to make sure we didn’t do too much. We did exactly what we had to do.”

The same could not be said for the Chiefs.

“We run the ball every week, so everybody knows what we are going to do,” said Charles. “We are a run team. They just came up and out did us today. They embarrassed us. I don’t know what happened. We know that defense is not that good but they came through today and stopped up. We have to come back and show everybody what we can do. We’ve got to come back and prove ourselves.”

Would it have helped the running game if Matt Cassel had been on the field running the offense, rather than Brodie Croyle?

“It wasn’t even about Matt,” Charles said. “People have to step up their games. That’s football. Guys need to step up we didn’t do that. I didn’t step up, we didn’t step up on offense and we didn’t step up as a team. We should have come through for Brodie and we didn’t. We lost.

“It was just embarrassing today.”

Chargers Pound Chiefs With Run Game

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

It’s one of the most helpless feelings a football player can have, especially one who plays on defense.

The San Diego Chargers were bound and determined to run the football in Sunday’s AFC West showdown against the Chiefs. They wanted to establish the line of scrimmage as Chargers territory and they want to bang, bang, bang at the K.C. defense.

Balance was important for the Chargers and they were about even as an offense can be. Philip Rivers threw for 226 yards. But it was a three-headed running attack of Ryan Mathews, Michael Tolbert and Daren Sproles that controlled the game. They ran for 207 yards, at 4.8 yards per carry, as those three had 28 of the 43 San Diego carries.

“We really wanted to come out and impose our will on them,” said Tolbert, who had 66 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. “It was a must win game. We had to play hard every play and dominate.”

They did. The Chargers offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage in every quarter. San Diego ran for 48, 76, 31 and 52 yards across the four quarters.

Those 207 yards are the most the Chiefs have allowed rushing in 13 games this season. In the last two games they’ve allowed 368 yards rushing to the Broncos and Chargers, or an average of 184 yards per game.

“They got started early and we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” said ILB Derrick Johnson, who led the team in total tackles with nine. “It was just like Denver. They got it rolling and there didn’t seem to be anything we could do to stop them.”

In their four possessions in the first half, the Chargers ran 124 yards on 21 carries, including runs of 19, 18 and 14 yards.

“They had our number today,” said DE Glenn Dorsey. “They came out with a good game plan and they executed it. We did not.”

San Diego was able to run inside and outside and they were able to get most of their yardage after contact, as the Chiefs turned in one of their worst tackling games of the season.

“We missed way too many tackles,” said head coach Todd Haley. “It was something that we talked about with these backs, that they were tackle breaking machines. We had to have a great tackling game and we didn’t do that.”

Tolbert led the Chargers runners with his 66 yards on 16 carries. Mathews had 65 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown run himself. Sproles only had six carries but he ran for 53 yards. They even got a 14-yard gain on an end-around run by WR Vincent Jackson.

“They did, they ran it down our throats,” said SS Eric Berry. “We should have come out smoking in the first half and we didn’t get it done. We were prepared for it. We woke up in the second half, but by then it was too late.”

No Help, No Hope For Brodie

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

When it was all said and done, there really wasn’t much for Brodie Croyle.

His first start in 15 months was not what he was expecting. Not when you’ve waited so long to get back on the field.

Getting your clock cleaned 31-0, as the Chargers did to the Chiefs on Sunday is not something Croyle will be able to put away with just a film session and corrections. Not when the defeat leaves you 0-10 as a starting quarterback.

“We felt good about the plan,” Croyle said after the game. “Felt good about the preparation coming in. We did not perform the way we thought we were going to. They are a good defense. They are the number on defensive team in the league for a reason and we just did not play well.”

That includes Croyle. While the absence of starting QB Matt Cassel obviously was a negative for the Chiefs offense, it wasn’t because Croyle was back there that the Chiefs were unable to score or mount any type of attack.

“I don’t think it would have made a difference,” said RB Jamaal Charles. “There was just so much that we didn’t do that wasn’t Brodie’s fault.”

…Read More!

Column: Forget This One Quickly

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

If in three weeks the Chiefs are celebrating as the 2010 AFC West champion then what happened on this sunny southern California afternoon will be forgotten.

Should they stumble and fall over the next three weeks and end up on the outside and looking in at the AFC playoffs, then they will be able to point to what happened against the Chargers as the moment where everything went to pot.

NFL teams have bad days. Even good teams sometimes struggle on any given Sunday.

But good teams do not go out and get run over with so much on the line. The media horde has pestered Todd Haley for months to say the Chiefs are a good football team. He’s refused. Turns out he knows best.

A good team can lose a game to San Diego in a similar situation. But a good team does not get punked the way the Chiefs were destroyed by the Chargers. This was familiar territory for San Diego; they’ve won four straight division titles, five in the last six years and December has always been their month.

The Chiefs wandered around on the grass surface at Qualcomm like they were lost at the mall while Christmas shopping with Mom. When you can list a team’s game highlights on a single hand and have fingers left over, it tells you it was a bad afternoon.

Oh, so bad.

…Read More!

Chiefs Fail In All Areas While Losing 31-0

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

The San Diego Chargers are the four-time defending division champions in the AFC West. The Chiefs have won one division title in the previous 12 seasons.

On a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon in southern California they showed us how that history came to be written.

Chargers 31, Chiefs 0.

That point total pretty much defined what the Chiefs got done in Game No. 13 of the season. Nothing.

“It was not close,” Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said in what might have been the day’s biggest understatement.” I said coming into this that they were a very good team and they showed it today. We obviously did not do enough to win in too many areas to really talk about.”

Like offense, defense, special teams and coaching. The Chiefs failed in every area.

“There wasn’t one thing that lost this game,” said LG Brian Waters. “There wasn’t one thing we did to win this game. Everything was bad. Nothing got done.”

  …Read More!

Pre-Game – Chiefs vs. Chargers

From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

No surprises among Chiefs inactives today, but San Diego will be without TE Antonio Gates who is inactive. Details below.

1:05 p.m. CST – Good afternoon from sunny – very sunny – southern California. It’s going to be a warm day for the biggest game in years for the Chiefs. Not trying to rub it in or anything for all those stuck in the frigid Midwest. But the skies are clear, as you can see by the picture to the left taken this morning. That’s not always the case in San Diego, where the haze they call the marine layer always seems to be present. Current temperature is 77 degrees. No word on what the wind chill might be. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

1:10 p.m. – Chiefs QBs and receivers just getting their normal pre-pre-game throwing session started. They are starting late because of the 3:15 p.m. kickoff.

1:12 p.m. – FS Kendrick Lewis is out early and dressed to play. Lewis has missed time with a variety of injuries and there’s no question they are a better defense when he’s on the field.

1:15 p.m. – WR Chris Chambers is on the field taking part in the throwing session. He’s dressed like he’ll be active today. He was a healthy scratch last Sunday against Denver.

1:19 p.m. – Out early watching Brodie Croyle throw is Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. He stopped early to talk with Thomas Jones – they together at the Chicago Bears for a few years. …Read More!

Showdown Is Here … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

From San Diego, California

One of the reasons the Chiefs will play today’s AFC West showdown with the Chargers holding first place and a two-game lead on the rest of the division has been their ability to juggle various injuries over the first 12 games.

At various times they were without Dexter McCluster, Ryan Lilja on offense, and various contributors on defense, players like Jon McGraw, Kendrick Lewis, Brandon Flowers and even Tyson Jackson. But they have been able to overcome those injuries, win games and do it with a roster that’s not deep in talent waiting to play.

But on this Sunday under what’s expected to be sunny skies and warm temperatures, they have their biggest challenge of the season. QB Matt Cassel, their offensive leader and the man who has made giant strides in his development this season, is home in Kansas City. Cassel is recuperating from his appendectomy. He will watch the game that begins at 3:15 p.m. and can be seen on CBS, with Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker handling the broadcast.

Brodie Croyle steps into the starting lineup and all this comes down in a game they need to win and against an opponent that has made a habit of winning games in December. Whether or not the Chiefs can extend their winning streak to four games will depend a great deal on how well the offense molds with Croyle.

“If Brodie plays it should be a pretty seamless thing,” said LG Brian Waters. “It’s not like he’s a rookie who hasn’t played or started a game before. The differences come in little things and we’ve worked all week on taking care of those, things like cadence and how he handles the hand-off and drop back.

“This is not a complete redo.” …Read More!

Answer Bob – 12/10

Milkman says: Makes you wonder if the Chiefs would have said anything had it not been for Adam Schefter breaking the story right ahead of them. I’ve got to say I agree with Bob on this one. What’s with all the secrecy about injuries? You can understand if it comes down to keeping your upcoming opponent guessing. But in some cases such as this one you would have to assume your next opponent was plain stupid to buy it. (The fans too for that matter.) They also look like a bunch of liars- and for what? I am very happy with the direction my favorite team is headed. I just wish they would try a little harder not to come off as a bunch of snobs.

jim says: Oh yeah, the secrecy issue. If keeping it under wraps for one extra practice day helps the Chiefs gain an advantage over SD in SD’s preparation, so be it. No biggie. Bob, I understand your frustration, because it’s your job to get us the inside info as quickly as possible. You do any awesome job with that. BUT, nobody here holds you responsible for not getting information that simply just isn’t ready to be made public yet. Hang in Bro, and keep making us happy with your stellar work.

Bob says: I understand their approach to injuries when it concerns players that may play in Sunday’s game. There are teams and players that would take that information and paint a target on the part of the body that’s injured. That’s why I have no problem if they say a knee injury is a leg injury. But in this case they knew from moment one that Cassel wasn’t going to play this weekend, not after an appendectomy. The news on something like this is going to get out; there’s no question about that. This team needs to learn how to get out in front of this type of information. These are smart people. I can’t imagine that they believe the Chargers’ heads were messed up all week when it came to what quarterback to prepare to play. They aren’t the only team that does things this way, but that’s neither here nor there. I can guarantee you that the Chargers preparation wasn’t compromised one bit by not knowing who the starting quarterback will be. This isn’t like the difference between Kevin Kolb (drop back passer) and Michael Vick (runner). This isn’t about a potential starter who has never started before. …Read More!

Pacific Beach Tidbits

From San Diego, California

The Chiefs did not arrive in sunny southern California in time to enjoy a trip to the beach.

But while Kansas City was frigid and Minneapolis was closed down, a 75 degree winter day on Pacific Beach is pretty hard to beat.

California boy Matt Cassel missed out as well, as he was left behind to recuperate from his appendectomy from Wednesday. Makes all the sense in the world and was probably the plan from the very start. Of course, what fun would it be for the Chiefs if they had just said that back on Wednesday or Thursday. The best thing for Cassel is to be at home, in the recliner, his feet up and resting. Standing on the sidelines would not have helped him.

So Brodie Croyle gets the start and tries to get that big goose egg off his record, since the Chiefs are 0-9 in games that he has started.

And sadly, when it comes to Croyle there will be concern about whether he can get through Sunday’s game without injury. That’s been the story of his career. If he goes down, say hello to Tyler Palko.


“I can tell you this,” Palko said a few days ago. “I hope you don’t see me. This is Brodie’s chance and I hope he’s out there leading us to a win.

“But if I’m needed, I will be ready.”

Palko has been waiting long enough for a chance. The last time he was a starting quarterback was the 2006 season at the University of Pittsburgh. Since then, he’s banged around with four different NFL teams, starting with the Saints, moving on to the Cardinals and Steelers and then the Chiefs. He signed in March.

“I’m just waiting for an opportunity to play,” Palko said. “This is a great life, and there’s nothing better than being part of the NFL and being in the locker room with a group of guys like this, or in the meeting rooms with guys like Matt and Brodie.

“But yeah, I want to play. That’s why I’m still working on it.” …Read More!

Cassel Stays Home

From San Diego, California

QB Matt Cassel was not with the Chiefs on their charter flight to San Diego on Saturday and obviously won’t play on Sunday against the Chargers.

The decision to leave him behind was the best decision for Cassel. It doesn’t take a medical degree to understand that the best way for Cassel to recuperate from his Wednesday appendectomy would be at home, with his feet up and resting.  There’s nothing really restful about a trip by an NFL team, especially when it includes a pair of three-hour flights to and from, a night in a hotel room with a bed other than his own.

That puts Brodie Croyle into the starting lineup. This will be his 10th NFL start. The Chiefs finished 0-9 in the previous games that Croyle opened. His last start came on September 13, 2009 in the season opener against Baltimore when Cassel was out with a knee injury. He would mop up in a pair of games later in the season, including a brief appearance against the Chargers in San Diego.

His last regular-season appearance was on December 6 last year. The last time he was on the field was September 2 when he closed out the final pre-season game against Green Bay at Arrowhead.

Jamaal Visits The Bank Window For $32.5 Million

From San Diego, California

One of the best ways to build a successful NFL team is to keep your best players and never allow them to reach free agency.

Give GM Scott Pioli credit because he’s now got one of the Chiefs best players locked up for five more seasons. Charles agreed to a contract extension on Saturday that will bring him $32.5 million, with a guaranteed total of $13 million. The news and details were broken by ESPN as the Chiefs were traveling to southern California to play the Chargers on Sunday.

Charles has not yet turned 24 years old – that will come two days after Christmas. By the end of this contract, Charles will be just 29 years old and given the average career of running backs in the NFL, he’ll be on the down side of his career.

So as long as the production continues, the Chiefs will get all of Charles yards, carries and catches. Right now, they get one of the NFL’s most productive runners for at little over $6.5 million per season. That’s at a level just below what the top backs are getting paid right now across the league (Adrian Peterson in Minnesota $6.4 million, Steven Jackson in St. Louis at $6.1 million.)

The extension ties Charles up through the 2015 season, but if he continues to churn out 1,000-yard seasons it will be renegotiated in the next few years. But right now, it’s a very good contract for Charles and a smart one for the Chiefs.

Now that they’ve got Charles and LB Derrick Johnson signed to extension, Pioli can turn his attenton to several other key players who are without contracts for next season, especially OLB Tamba Hali and CB Brandon Carr.

Closing Gates Is Key … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

For the last six years, Derrick Johnson has twice a year watched tape and prepared to play Antonio Gates.

Every year it’s the same reaction.

“How does he keep getting open?” Johnson said. “When you think you’ve got him figured out in that offense and what he’s going to be doing and where he’s going to be go, he comes up with something new.”

As long as he can deal with the pain of a foot injury that has limited him in recent weeks, Gates will be a big factor when the Chiefs and Chargers face off or their big AFC West showdown at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.

“Something would have to be really, really hurting for me not to go,” Gates said earlier this week. “Considering how important this game is and what this mean to our whole season I’d like to say that, speaking in the third person, Antonio Gates will play.”

If Gates does play, he’ll be a factor. Last Sunday playing basically on one league against the Raiders, he caught six passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. He’s always a factor.

“He knows how to find openings in the zone, he knows how to beat man-to-man, he has seen every kind of double coverage known to man and so he knows how to handle those things,” said defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. “To still be able to catch balls with all of that going on says that you have a lot of ability. It says that you have good hands, you have good recognition of what is happening to you on the football field and that makes him good.”

Over his eight-year career, Gates has had some big days catching the football against the Chiefs defense. In 13 games, Gates has caught 73 passes for 879 yards and a dozen touchdown catches. Whether the defense was coordinated by Greg Robinson, Gunther Cunningham, Clancy Pendergast or now Crennel, Gates has been productive when facing the guys with arrowheads on their helmets.

In the first game between these teams back on the opening week, Gates caught five passes for 76 yards, including one for a touchdown and a 34-yard completion. …Read More!

Friday 12/10 Practice Report-Update2

From the Truman Sports Complex

Because of his appendectomy, QB Matt Cassel is listed as doubtful on the Chiefs official injury report to the league that was made Friday afternoon.

During a morning practice session, Cassel was on the field, but he did not take part in the workout.

“Did not practice” and “doubtful” were the only bits of information that head coach Todd Haley would share on his starting quarterback. Haley would not provide news on any other decisions that may have been made involving Cassel, a decision like whether he will even make the trip to San Diego on Saturday? And if Cassel does go on the road, how will he be handled on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium? Will he start? Will he be the No. 2 QB? Will he dress and be the inactive third quarterback? Will he not dress at all and be one of the team’s eight inactive players? If he’s there, will he even be on the sidelines? Might he be in the coaching box where he’s away from potential collisions and has a place to sit?

What’s even more obvious is that Brodie Croyle will make his 10th NFL start on Sunday as Cassel’s replacement. Croyle got the reps with the first team offense in the team’s 90-minute Friday practice. …Read More!

Is Brodie Ready? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

Brodie Croyle had six minutes to get showered, dressed and off to a meeting, so he did not have time to speak with the media horde Thursday afternoon between practice and meetings at the Chiefs facility.

“Got to go, can’t be late,” Croyle said, his wet hair flapping as he moved swiftly out the door of the locker room.

There is little doubt now that when it comes to the first offensive series of Sunday’s big AFC West showdown between the Chiefs and Chargers in San Diego, No. 12 will be in the huddle and taking the snap from center Casey Wiegmann.

“I don’t look at it like a scramble situation,” head coach Todd Haley said of the preparation to get Croyle ready to play this week. “He’s prepared and if it comes to fruition, we’ve got to be ready to go.”

Sometime Friday afternoon the Chiefs will declare the status of appendix-less starting QB Matt Cassel as either “out” or “doubtful”. If there was any chance – there wasn’t – that Cassel would play on Sunday, he would have been on the practice field Thursday. He was nowhere to be seen.

Haley spoke Thursday about his rule that players have to practice to play. The Chiefs have a 90-minute Friday practice and then a walkthrough practice on Saturday. The heavy lifting of preparation week is pretty much done.   …Read More!


First of all, apologies for falling behind on the e-mail in the last few days but things have been very busy. I appreciate your comments and questions and hope to get back on track getting them answered. There’s plenty here and I’ll finish up with more on Friday. Enjoy!


TDKC says: I so want to believe … still holding back a little. To be a contender you must win home games against division foes. Bob, do you think Haley’s snub and comments at the end of the game in Denver were regarding the rumors of illegal taping of the opposition by Denver? The 49ers said they did not show anything in their walkthrough because they had heard rumors. If so, that same info must have traveled around the rest of the league.

Bob says: TDKC, I don’t think Haley’s actions in Denver had anything to do with the illegal taping of the 49ers practice. It may have something to do with actions we don’t know anything about at this time. But I think it really had to do with how the Broncos conducted themselves in the fourth quarter of that game. At this point now, with McDaniels out the door, it’s all kind of water over and under the bridge. …Read More!

Enrique’s Video Vault – The Biggest Leap

Sunday’s game against the Chargers has all the makings of a coming-of-age game for the Chiefs. Not because I say so, but because the ingredients are obviously there.

On one hand we have the young challenger that will look to finish the task that it began the moment the season started; and on the other, we have the prideful king that will do his best (and worst) to avoid relinquishing the throne. San Diego is wounded (figuratively), but so is Kansas City (literally) with Matt Cassel likely out for the game. Paired at metaphorical even strength, the question is: will the Chiefs have what it takes to step into stardom? My answer is YES. And it will show this weekend.

Now … is this a new occurrence? Hardly. Back in the ’93 season, the Chiefs faced a similar scenario in SD in week seven, when they survived the best punches of the then-defending champs Chargers, to consolidate their stranglehold on the AFC West. And after that, they never looked back. I guess that having Joe Montana and Marcus Allen around helped a little bit.

Luckily, our man Gretz was there – and since this is one of my fondest KC memories ever, I’ll complete this passage with an excerpt from Bob’s book “Hail to the Chiefs” (called “The Montana Effect”) that describes to perfection what this game meant to the Red and Gold back in the day. Enjoy.

The Kansas City Chiefs learned very early in the 1993 season about the Montana Effect, possibly as soon as the season opener against Tampa Bay. There was also the Monday Night game on September 20 at Arrowhead Stadium against the Denver Broncos. Montana did not even throw a touchdown pass that night, but he was precision personified, as the Chiefs picked up a 15-7 victory.

The final confirmation of what his presence would mean to the Chiefs came on Sunday, October 17 at Jack Murphy Stadium in sunny San Diego. …Read More!

Thursday 12/9 Practice Report-Update2

From the Truman Sports Complex

There was no Matt Cassel sighting at the start of Thursday’s practice session at the Chiefs indoor facility.

And while not providing a final status report on Cassel for Sunday’s game in San Diego,  Todd Haley said Thursday practice time was spent preparing Brodie Croyle to be the starting quarterback. The head coach says there’s a lot of similiar traits to the way Cassel and Croyle play the position.

“I think they can both be viewed as dropback quarterbacks,” Haley said. “They both have enough mobility to get themselves out of trouble when necessary. Obviously, Matt is a little bigger (Cassel is 6-4, 230, Croyle is 6-2, 205) but arm strength and all those things there are a lot of similarties. For that reasons when you do have to work one or the other in, you don’t have to make a whole lot of adjustments.”

The Chiefs added some things to practice on Thursday, like a play clock to help Croyle get back into the flow of getting from play to play. As they always do, they had crowd noise pumped into their indoor facility. “We turned it all the way up today,” Haley said.

But Haley said there shouldn’t be much extra that needs to be done, since it was up to the coaching staff to have everybody on the roster ready to go each and every week of  the season. …Read More!

Painful Start to Chargers Week … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s normally four inches long and there’s great debate as to its evolutionary purpose.

Some researchers think it’s a remnant of a time when we used to eat leaves and bark. Other researchers say it serves our body as a mechanics to replenish good bacteria in our digestive track.

Whatever it does, the inflamed presence of the appendix was enough to sideline Chiefs QB Matt Cassel on Wednesday.

His appendectomy was successful according to the team. But it’s unthinkable that Cassel will be available for kickoff at 3 o’clock CST on Sunday in San Diego. The Chiefs have not ruled him out of the game, but they should. No matter what procedure was used to remove his appendix, there’s little doubt that Cassel should not be on the field at Qualcomm Stadium.

When that news will be made public or even if it is announced at all … heaven knows. As they showed again on Wednesday, the ridiculous atmosphere of secrecy that has become part of the football operation makes the Chiefs organization look clumsy and appear deceitful in communicating with the media and their fans. That was again the case on Wednesday, just as it’s been before with health situations involving offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and even head coach Todd Haley.   …Read More!

The AFC West Landscape

Thanks to subscriber Dirk Scholl who jumped deep into the numbers and put together this look at the AFC West over the next four weeks. Luckily he’s taken a lot of factors and put them together in a very clear and concise package. Enjoy.

Chiefs win 4

  • Chiefs finish 12-4 and take the division.
  • Best OAK and SD can finish is 9-7.

Chiefs win 3

  • Chiefs finish 11-5 and take the division.
  • Best OAK or SD can finish is 10-6.

  …Read More!

Cassel Loses Appendix

From the Truman Sports Complex

Turns out that the illness that kept QB Matt Cassel out of Wednesday’s practice was something a bit bigger. The Chiefs announced late Wednesday afternoon that their starting quarterback underwent an appendectomy on Wednesday.

Here’s the Chiefs statement:

“The Kansas City Chiefs announced that QB Matt Cassel underwent an appendectomy Wednesday. The procedure was successful and the Chiefs said they expect Cassel to return to work this week.”

Returning to work and playing on Sunday are to very different things, but it would seem to be a long shot that he would play on Sunday in San Diego.

Wednesday 12/8 Practice Report-Cassel Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Todd Haley said Wednesday that starting QB Matt Cassel was not at practice because of an “illness.”

“He’s on the practice report as illness and we’ll take it from there,” said Haley, who would not provide a timetable of when he expects Cassel to practice, or even whether his illness will allow him to play on Sunday in San Diego.

Haley also said it was “a coincidence” that Cassel was missing on the same day that QB Tyler Palko was promoted from the practice squad. “We had to make a move in another area and we had the chance to move somebody up and that determination was made. It’s actually a total coincidence, it really is.”

Cassel’s absence gave all the No. 1 offensive practice reps to backup Brodie Croyle.

“I got some reps; I’ve got to be ready to go at any time,” said Croyle, who has not taken a game snap since the pre-season. “I’m going to prepare like I always do and if my number is called I have to be ready. It’s no different than any other week.” …Read More!

Winning The Close Ones … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

When the Chiefs won Sunday’s game against Denver by a 10-6 score it was another notch in their belt of winning a close game.

That’s one of the prerequisites traits that a contending team must possess, and it’s a behavior they’ve learned in just this 2010 season.

In 12 games, six have been decided by seven points or less. The Chiefs are 4-2 in those games and 2-1 in games decided by three points or less.

That’s a huge upgrade from what went down the previous three seasons when the Chiefs were struggling to win any games, let alone those that were close on the scoreboard:

  • 2009 – They played eight games that were decided by seven points or less and their record was 2-6, with a 1-2 record in games decided by three points or less.
  • 2008 – In eight games decided by seven points or less, the Chiefs were 1-7 and their record in games that came down to three points or less was 0-3, including two one-point losses.
  • 2007 – The Chiefs had seven games decided by seven points or less and they were 3-4 in those games. They were 2-3 in games decided by three points or less and they lost the only one-point game they played in that year.

That’s a three-year total of 6-17 in games decided by seven points or less and 3-8 in games decided by three points or less.

It’s just one of those many areas where you can see the improvement of the ’10 team. …Read More!

Enrique’s Epics & Fails – Week No. 13



If you were among those who watched Brandon Carr‘s performance against the Broncos, then you are entitled to say it one more time: Wow. With Brandon Flowers clearly operating at less than 100% (because of his ailing hamstring), and Kendrick Lewis
taking a turn for the figurative worse on the eve of Sunday’s game, the Chiefs needed the 3rd-year vet to step up to the plate in order to withstand Denver’s aerial attack (led by the ever-dangerous Brandon Lloyd). And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what he did. Carr’s five defended passes anchored what was arguably the best outing of his pro career, and they also made me think of a good nickname for him: ELECTRIC (you know, because he was all over the place). Another pair of outings like the one we witnessed on Sunday, and that moniker will be here to stay. …Read More!

Numbers After Game No. 12

Another quarter of the season is finished and the Chiefs numbers have come rolling in. Let’s take a look


Offensively, the team continues to put up better and better numbers each quarter. More points, more first downs and more yardage.

The passing yardage (258.3 yards per game) is skewed by the first Denver game. Interesting note: eight of the top 10 passing games in the league this year came in a loss. So celebrating Matt Cassel’s 469-yard game against the Broncos is folly other than to note that it was the first evidence that he might be able to carry a team if necessary.

Rushing yardage is down from the second quarter of the season, but that’s also skewed by the first Denver game. The Chiefs continue to be the No. 1 rushing team in the league and the only team with more than 2,000 yards rushing at this point of the year. On the Kent scale, that is critical. A winning team must be able to run the ball.

Coach Todd Haley’s strategy of four-down football was less effective in the third quarter of the season than in the first half of the year. He should consider re-evaluating some of his decisions. As the season winds down – and if the Chiefs get into the playoffs – points are so dear that he needs to consider taking them when he can get them rather than rolling the dice on a fourth-down play.

Case in point was last Sunday’s Denver game. Kicking a gimme field goal when the Chiefs had 4th-and-2 at the Broncos 2 would have put them ahead two scores. As it was, the Broncos could continue to be a two-dimensional team (running and passing).

Rather than say his team should have grasped the situation and made a play to put the Broncos behind the eight ball, the coach sometimes needs to make the smart decision and put the opponent behind the eight ball. …Read More!

Overreacting On Barry … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

There would be only one thing worse than Barry Richardson’s sideline tantrum on Sunday after he was lifted from the Chiefs-Broncos game.

That would be for the Chiefs organization to overreact to Richardson’s mistake and turn this minor situation into a continuing story line.

The closing chapter on what went down should be a trip to the principal’s office for Richardson, where he would be told that future behavior of the sort he displayed in the third quarter on Sunday would not be tolerated. Then on Wednesday, he would apologize to his teammates, and after practice he would stand up in the locker room and tell the media horde that he lost his cool and that should never happen, and will not in the future.

The Chiefs Nation has pushed back over the last 36 hours with demands that Richardson be released, suspended, benched, fined heavily and various combinations of those penalties.

It all came down on Sunday, early in the third quarter, as the Chiefs were driving the ball. On a 3rd-and-goal play at the Broncos two-yard line, Richardson jumped early and was flagged for a false start. It was his second such penalty of the game. …Read More!

K.C. Loss Final Straw For McDaniels

Losing to the Chiefs on Sunday, an outcome that guaranteed the Denver Broncos a losing record and eliminated them from the 2010 playoffs was the straw that broke the back of head coach Josh McDaniels.

He was fired on Monday afternoon, after going 11-17 as head coach of the Broncos, including losing 17 of the last 22 games. The last defeat was losing 10-6 to the Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

“My decision to relieve Josh McDaniels as head coach was not taken lightly,” Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said in a statement. “I will always be appreciative of his passion, enthusiasm and hard work, and I thank him for his efforts. In the end, I was not satisfied with the results and the direction this team was headed. The decision to make a change was extremely difficult but one that needed to be made for this organization and our fans.

“Everyone, myself included, is accountable for our disappointing season and is now responsible for restoring the culture of winning that has been established by this franchise. Our entire organization is completely focused on returning to the level of prosperity that our fans expect and deserve from the Denver Broncos.”

Broncos RB coach Eric Studesville was named interim head coach. …Read More!

Leftovers With A Side Of Donkey

From Arrowhead Stadium

Jamaal Charles was involved in 24 plays during Sunday’s game against Denver.

But a pair of those two dozen touches were among the biggest plays of the game, although they are largely forgotten in the aftermath of the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Broncos. Both plays came in the game’s last seven minutes:

  • With just under five minutes to play, Charles recovered a fumbled snap by QB Matt Cassel. The play was a six-yard loss, but the Chiefs kept control of the ball thanks to Charles.
  • Right before the two-minute warning, Charles ran wide right on a sweep trying to get a first down on a 2nd-and-6 play. Not only did Charles tiptoe on the edge long enough to get the first down, he stayed in bounds and did not stop the clock.

“It was a big first down by Jamaal,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Jamaal has made so much progress as a player, a person. It’s easy to see Jamaal’s success and think this guy has always been here. This guy has developed and has really impressed all of us and that’s a little play that no one will probably ever notice.

“He turned the corner, he stayed in bounds, got the first down; that’s something that we work awfully hard at having our team understand how important it is to be a smart team and understand the situations. I was really proud of him there.

“Jamaal’s another one of those guys that just keeps impressing me.”

After the weekend action, Charles is the No. 3 rusher in the league with 1,137 yards on 182 carries, for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He trails Houston’s Arian Foster (1,230 yards) and Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville (1,177 yards).

Charles’ season so far has produced the seventh best running season in Chiefs history. …Read More!

Sunday Best Performances 12/5


  • 102 – Atlanta WR Eric Weems (right) kickoff return for TD vs. Tampa Bay (W).
  • 84 – Seattle RB Leon Washington kickoff return vs. Carolina (W).
  • 66 – San Francisco TE Vernon Davis TD catch vs. Green Bay (L).
  • 65 – Dallas P Mat McBriar punt vs. Indianapolis (W).
  • 64 – Tampa Bay P Robert Malone punt vs. Atlanta (L).
  • 62 – Arizona P Ben Graham punt vs. St. Louis (L).
  • 61 – Baltimore WR Anquan Boldin catch vs. Pittsburgh (L).
  • 61 – Green Bay WR Donald Driver TD catch vs. San Francisco (W).
  • 61 – Seattle P Jon Ryan punt vs. Carolina (W).
  • 61 – Oakland P Shane Lechler punt vs. San Diego (W).
  • 61 – Miami P Brandon Fields punt vs. Cleveland (L).
  • 61 – San Francisco P Andy Lee punt vs. Green Bay (L). …Read More!

Around The AFC West – 12/5

The NFL has eight divisions in two conferences. Only one of those eight has a team with a two-game lead in their division.

Remarkably, that’s the Kansas City Chiefs. Now 8-4 after their 10-6 victory over Denver, they hold a two-game edge on both Oakland and San Diego, teams that are 6-6 on the season.

In the other seven divisions there are teams with a one-game lead – Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Chicago, Atlanta – and divisions where teams are tied.

All the Chiefs need to worry about is their division and they are in the driver’s seat right now.

Raiders 28, Chargers 13 @ Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

San Diego QB Philip Rivers knows there isn’t anybody for the Chargers to blame but themselves.

“When you put yourself in the position like we had early on at 2-5, where you need to play really well and win every game it makes it harder because you can’t have a game like this,” Rivers said after the Oakland Raiders stunned the Chargers in taking a 28-13 victory in San Diego.

“A game like that” included the Chargers running for just 21 yards on eight carries and giving up 251 yards rushing to the Raiders. Two first quarter turnovers put San Diego in a bad spot right off the bat.

“They played good football and we didn’t; simple as that,” Chargers RB Mike Tolbert said. “We definitely need to come out with a better attitude and better effort.”

Who could blame the Chargers if they thought a win was guaranteed. Coming into the game they had won 18 consecutive games played in December. It was their month, their time and they could win their fifth consecutive division title by keeping that streak alive.

But that went out the window as the Raiders defense got after the Chargers, picking up four sacks and an interception. Oakland had a time of possession advantage of 17 minutes, 18 seconds.

San Diego did not have rookie RB Ryan Mathews, out with a sprained ankle.

Here’s how the division looks with four weeks to go.

# Team







Last Game





@ SD

@ St.L



2. Oakland







@ KC

  San Diego








4. Denver




@ AZ




Colquitts II & Other Notes

From Arrowhead Stadium

Three weeks before they had made Dustin and Britton Colquitt made NFL history by becoming the first brothers to punt in the same game.

So Sunday it was time for the Kansas City showing of this record setting Family of Fourth Down. But it was very much a second act that got lost in an avalanche of other story lines.

The brothers Colquitt pretty much matched either other punt-for-punt in the Chiefs 10-6 victory. They both kicked seven times:

For the Chiefs, Dustin averaged 41.9 yards a punt, with four kicks inside the 20-yard line. His net average was 36.6 yards and his longest punt was 59 yards.

For the Broncos, Britton averaged 41.1 yards a punt, with two kicks inside the 20-yard line. His net average was 39.1 yards and his longest punt was 48 yards.

The key punt was the last one for Dustin Colquitt, as he nailed a 59-yarder that wiped out any chance the Broncos had of getting back into the game with just a few seconds left.

“We wanted to use as much of the clock as possible there,” Dustin said. “And then I wanted to get off the best punt that I could and we got that done.”

Denver returner Eddie Royal had all kind of trouble with Dustin’s kick and eventually never was able to catch the ball and it was downed at the Broncos eight-yard line.

“Eddie Royal told me it was just impossible to figure out the ball and it’s flight,” said Colquitt. “It came at a good time.”


Overall it was pretty quiet in the kicking game with both teams. Here’s how the rest of the action broke down after the punting for the Chiefs:

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop kicked off three times, sending the ball to the Broncos four-yard line twice and then the Denver 29-yard line on a squib kick to close out the first half.

FIELD GOALS – Succop hit his 47-yard field goal twice. He made it the first time, but the kick came just after Denver coach Josh McDaniels had called a timeout in an attempt to ice him. Succop came right back and made the kick again. It’s his longest field goal of the season.

RETURN GAME – With Dexter McCluster back, he got involved in handling some of the traffic in the return game. He had two punt returns for six yards and three kickoff returns for 60 yards. Javier Arenas returned two punts for eight yards and also had two punts where he made a fair catch.

COVERAGE WORK – Working the punt returns was Eddie Royal and he averaged 12.3 yards on three returns with three fair catches. On kickoff returns, Eric Decker had a 26-yard return and averaged 21 yards on two returns.


The Chiefs announced a crowd of 67,267 for paid attendance. There were not that many butts in the seats however, as again there were scattered empty areas throughout all three levels of the building.

Overall, the crowd noise was not at the level that it’s been for other games this season. The Broncos offense had no problem getting snaps off and they were not called for a false start in the game.


This was the second game of the season that referee Carl Cheffers and his crew worked a Chiefs game. They also had the Chiefs-Browns game in Cleveland at week No. 2. That makes the Chiefs 2-0 with this crew, so they would probably welcome them back.

Before this game, the Cheffers crew was averaging 14 penalties and 108 yards walked off per game. They were just a tad under those numbers for this game, walking off 12 flags for 95 yards.

Eight of those penalties came against the Chiefs, including seven against the offense. Here’s how it broke down:

  1. Punt return        Donald Washington    holding        minus-10.
  2. Offense        Barry Richardson    false start    minus-5.
  3. Offense        Dwayne Bowe        illegal shift    minus-5.
  4. Offense        Tony Moeaki        illegal form.    minus-5.
  5. Offense        Richardson        false start    minus-5.
  6. Offense        Terrance Copper    holding        minus-10.
  7. Offense        Matt Cassel        Int. grounding    minus-10.
  8. Offense        Bowe            pass int.    minus-10.

The Chiefs lost 81 yards and a touchdown on those penalties. Copper’s holding call wiped out a 57-yard run by McCluster.


The inactive players for the Chiefs on Sunday included one surprise – veteran WR Chris Chambers. He was a healthy scratch largely because Dexter McCluster returned to the field. Since Chambers does not play on special teams, carrying him was going to be a luxury. This situation may not change over the last four games if McCluster, Verran Tucker and Terrance Copper remain healthy enough to play.

Other inactive players for the Chiefs were FS Kendrick Lewis (ankle), CB Jackie Bates (knee), CB Mike Richardson, FB Tim Castille, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger and DT Anthony Toribio.

With Lewis out, Jon McGraw was back in the starting lineup at free safety. On offense, the Chiefs opened with two tight ends in Moeaki and Jake O’Connell. McCluster was also on the field for the first offensive play.

Everybody played save backup QB Brodie Croyle.

The inactive players for the Broncos were S Brian Dawkins, CB Andre Goodman, RB Laurence Maroney, S Darcel McBath, OL Stanley Daniels, OL Eric Olsen, WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Brady Quinn was Denver’s inactive third quarterback.


The Chiefs had an advantage in time of possession at 14 minutes 28 seconds. They ran 72 plays, while Denver ran 55 … S Eric Berry led the Chiefs in tackles with seven. DE Glenn Dorsey had six stops … Denver LB D.J. Williams led the Broncos with nine total tackles … OLB Tamba Hali had two sacks and so did the blitzing CB Javier Arenas … the Chiefs have now beaten the Broncos 55 times in the regular season, more than any other opponent. They are also 18-2 in home games against Denver in the month of December, with 13 of those victories coming at Arrowhead.

Report Card: Chiefs vs. Broncos

From Arrowhead Stadium

RUSHING OFFENSE: B – They finished with 185 yards, which was better than their season average going into the game. But this was not a well-oiled rushing machine. Yards came tough and big plays were few and far between. Jamaal Charles had another 100-yard game, going for 116 on 21 carries. His longest run was 16 yards. Thomas Jones ran 11 times for 53 yards, but he was not a factor in the first half.

PASSING OFFENSE: C – Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe had been tearing it up for three weeks so maybe they were due for a slow down. That’s what happened. Cassel completed just 54.8 percent of his passes and averaged only 6.3 yards per attempt. Bowe was shut out by some tough pass coverage from Champ Bailey. Nobody else really stepped forward among the receivers as none had more than two catches. Pass protection gave up two sacks, including one in the red zone. Poor execution all day for the passing offense.

RUSH DEFENSE: D – Coming into the game, the Broncos had the No. 30 running game in the league, averaging just 79 yards per game. Knowshon Moreno finished with 161 yards and he had 85 yards at half-time. Moreno had runs of 24 and 22 yards and he broke at least a half-dozen tackles as the Chiefs defense had trouble handling his quickness.

PASS DEFENSE: A – Even with FS Kendrick Lewis out of the game and CB Brandon Flowers playing but hobbled by a hamstring pull, the Chiefs pass defense turned in its best performance of the season. Kyle Orton completed just nine of 28 passes, for an ugly completion percentage of 32 percent and he averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt. The Chiefs pass rush kept Orton uncomfortable, as he went down four times, including a pass rushers hat trick for OLB Tamba Hali – the sack, the forced fumble and the fumble recovery.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – The Chiefs did not produce much in the kicking game, but they did not allow much either. When they really needed a special teams play was at the end of the game, and Dustin Colquitt ripped off a 59-yard punt that pushed the Broncos back to their eight-yard line. Ryan Succop hit his longest field goal of the season from 47 yards. In fact, he did it twice making the first one that came after Denver called a timeout.

COACHING: C – Todd Haley was doing crazy things on fourth down again. Given a perfect chance to go for a fourth down in the second quarter, Haley decided to punt. In the third quarter, holding a 10-3 lead and facing a 4th-and-goal at the Denver two-yard line, the Chiefs went for the score, rather than kick a 20-yard field goal and a 10-point lead. QB Matt Cassel was sacked and the Chiefs came away with nothing.

Barry Blows His Stack

From Arrowhead Stadium

It may have been the most remarkable scene that went down on Sunday in the Chiefs-Broncos game. OT Barry Richardson, one of the most laid back and quietest men in the team’s locker room blew his stack.

He screamed at his position coach Bill Muir. Richardson then pushed special teams coach Steve Hoffman out of the way when Hoffman tried to calm him down. He pushed away teammate Jon Asamoah when he also tried to corral him.

For about 30 seconds Richardson was an enraged 6-6, 320-pound man.

“I don’t really have time to say anything,” Richardson said as he made a quick escape from the Chiefs locker room after the game. The media was coming in one door, and Richardson headed for the back door.

It all came down early in the third quarter, as the Chiefs were driving the ball towards the end zone. On a 3rd-and-goal play at the Broncos two-yard line, Richardson jumped early and was flagged for a false start. It was his second false start of the game.

As the offense huddled up for the next play, coaches sent Ryan O’Callaghan into the game and had Richardson come out. As he reached the sideline, he took off his helmet and that’s when the tantrum started. It appeared that offensive line coach Muir said something to him and it was obvious that Richardson didn’t like what he heard.

He walked down the line and clubbed away Hoffman who was trying to intercede. He pushed away Asamoah. Richardson was hot.

Head coach Todd Haley did not get in the line of fire and after the game was supportive of Richardson, despite his actions.

“I think what you’re seeing out of our guys and what’s exciting thing to me as the head coach is we have a lot of guys that really care,” Haley said. “We had a penalty in the red zone, and I think Coach Muir and our offensive staff just wanted to calm him down and let him regroup.

“He’s a prideful guy that didn’t want to be out and he was upset with himself and that’s a good thing. These guys care and that is such a refreshing, positive thing out of this group that makes it fun to go to work every day.

“I’m excited to see guys care that passionately.”

Brandon Carr To The Rescue

From Arrowhead Stadium

Over the last three years, he’s been the other Brandon in the Chiefs secondary.

With teammate Brandon Flowers getting the attention and the notoriety as one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL, Brandon Carr was just the guy on the other corner.

But with Flowers hurting on Sunday, Brandon Carr stepped up and played what may have been the best game of his young career. Every time it seemed like there was an open Broncos receiver, there was No. 39 coming in at the last minute and knocking the ball away.

The Broncos completed a big pass in the middle of the field, but then here came Carr, applying a big hit to WR Jabar Gaffney and turning the completion into an incompletion. It seemed like he was everywhere.

“From the sideline I thought he played a terrific game as did the rest of the pass defense,” said head coach Todd Haley. “The back-end guys were off the charts. Brandon Carr, we keep asking him to step up with some of the other guys beat up and not being at 100 percent, playing with a lot of different guys. Brandon Carr has continued to take big steps.”

One of the stats that reveals the type of game that Carr and the secondary had would be the performance of Denver WR Brandon Lloyd. The Blue Springs product came into the game as the NFL leader in receiving yardage with 1,122 yards. But on this Sunday, Lloyd was a non-factor. He had 11 passes thrown his way, but he made just two catches for 31 yards. Lloyd dropped one after taking a jarring shot from Carr. There were at least three more fired towards Lloyd that Carr knocked down.

The performance matched up with the goal for Carr.

“We wanted to shut him down,” Carr said of Lloyd. “We had something to prove based on what they did to us last time. He’s a big-time receiver with some big numbers. That was my main focus, to shut him down and make them beat us in other ways.”

Lloyd caught six passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the first game between the teams.

“It was an embarrassing loss,” Carr said of that game. “That’s not how we play. That stuck in our mind all week. We had something to prove out there.”

Carr had his hands on three or four passes in the game, but couldn’t come up with an interception to save his life. “I need somebody’s hands,” Carr said. “I wish I could have come down with them. This week, I need to do a lot of ball drills and work on focusing in on those balls.”

It is not often when given the opportunity that Haley will talk at length about one of his players. He’s very aware of not blowing up a player’s head based on one performance. But there was not reticence on his part to talk about Carr.

“This is a guy he comes to work every day and he epitomizes the same guy every day,” said Haley. “You can count on him; he’s like clockwork. He’ll be there at the same time in the same spot. There’s not a lot of variance. That’s a good sign. He’s hungry to continue to get better and I think you are starting to see him make progress. That’s a really good thing for us. As we get healthier back there and Brandon Carr continues to be better, then all of a sudden we have a chance to be really good.

“You can see him getting better and better every day in practice, gaining confidence, making big hits, knocking the ball out. He had his hands on the ball a couple of times. I would have loved if he had come up with it but he still made some really nice plays.”

Bailey Shutout Bowe

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the type of line of the statistical report on a Chiefs game that is almost unbelievable, like some sort of mistake by the computer or its operator.

But there it was, on page 3 of the Chiefs-Broncos Gamebook, under the category of Chiefs pass receiving:








D. Bowe







The hottest receiver in the NFL over the last month was taken out of the Chiefs offense by the Denver defense and the coverage of CB Champ Bailey. Three weeks ago, Bowe lit up the Broncos for 13 catches, 186 yards and two touchdowns. At least eight of those catches were against Bailey as the Broncos ran out to a 20-point victory.

Things were very different some 21 days later. Bailey had Bowe the entire game. Bowe was shut out and the Chiefs won.

No. 82 says that’s all that mattered to him.

“As long as there’s a ‘W’ at the end of the day and I ran well and blocked well, I’m okay with that,” Bowe said after the game. “That happens. It’s football.”

The goal of the Broncos was to keep Bowe from running through their secondary catching passes left and right. They didn’t think about shutting him out; they just wanted to contain him.

“We wanted to focus on trying to limit the big plays with Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe,” said Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. “I thought Champ did a good job. We had Champ on him all day. I really challenged our guys to play better team defense than what we had played the last couple weeks and I thought they responded.”

Especially Bailey, the 12-year veteran who has now played the last seven seasons with the Broncos. He’s not the every game lock-down corner he was a few years ago. But on any given Sunday, the 32-year old out of the University of Georgia can dial it up.

“I know Champ has a really good week of practice and prepared extremely hard,” McDaniels said. “He knew the challenge going in. We were going to put him on Bowe a lot and it was a lot of one-on-one coverage. There wasn’t a lot of roll where we were helping him.

“He really responded to the challenge. He’s a true pro and a guy that is a big-time competitor.”

QB Matt Cassel threw it in Bowe’s direction three times. The first time came midway through the first quarter when Bowe caught a pass on the sideline in front of the Denver bench. The officials ruled it a catch for nine yards, but McDaniels challenged the ruling and after a replay review the call was changed to incomplete. That was the last time Bowe saw the ball in the first half.

“Champ is one of the premier corners in the league,” said Cassel. “Obviously Dwayne is a guy that’s had a tremendous amount of production, not only in the last few weeks, but throughout the course of the year. I’m sure they targeted him and said ‘We’re not going to let Dwayne Bowe beat us today’.”

The other throws in Bowe’s direction came in the fourth quarter. Cassel went to Bowe down the right side on a deep ball, but Bailey was there. He went deep right to Bowe again, and he caught it for a 22-yard completion. But Bowe was called for offensive pass interference when he pushed off on Bailey when making his cut, thus wiping out his reception and the play. On the very next snap, Cassel went to Bowe for a short pass, but it was incomplete.

“I mean it’s disappointing but at the end of the day, we won,” said Bowe. “He’s the best defender I ever went up against and he told me that I’m one of the greatest he’s gone against. As we battled it out he said ‘my game plan was to not let you get anything.’ And, he did it.”

In the month of November, Bowe led the league with 528 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches. He began the month of December with goose eggs. He can live with that.

“They have a great defense,” Bowe said. “But overall we won and I’m proud of that.”

What Next … S’mores? A Sleepover?

From Arrowhead Stadium

They made nice Sunday afternoon. It was about five minutes after the top of the three o’clock hour on a cold afternoon and one of the most awaited moments of the Chiefs-Broncos game was about to happen.

Surrounded by their security details and more TV mini-cams and photographers than a Lindsay Lohan arrival at the courthouse, Todd Haley and Josh McDaniels got together.

Like most sequels, this one turned out to be a dud. There was no passion, no finger wagging, no epithets exchanged. Three weeks ago at the end of the first game between the Chiefs and Broncos, Haley refused McDaniels hand, instead wagging his finger at his counterpart and touching off one of those controversies that fuel the division passions inside the AFC West. The next day Haley said he was sorry, in one of the least heart-felt apologies the NFL has seen in some time.

So when the teams had their re-match on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, no one left their seats before the end of the game. Forget about beating the traffic; everyone waited for the next move from these second-year head coaches. …Read More!

Column: An Anything But Ugly Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

Listen, from where I’m sitting this whole winning ugly thing is a bunch of crap.

Losing is ugly; winning is always pretty. Granted, some are prettier than others. But there’s nothing about working 60 minutes on a bone-chillingly cold Sunday afternoon and ending up with at least one more point than the other guy that is unattractive.

In fact, I’m here to tell you that the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos on this bone-chillingly cold Sunday was one of the most agreeable, pleasing and yes, beautiful victories in recent franchise history.

I am aware that a game where only one touchdown was scored between two teams is considered ugly. I know that when the hottest receiver in the NFL is held to no catches over 60 minutes, that it’s not considered an attractive performance. I understand that people love scoring and offensive pyrotechnics.

Those offensive elements were in short supply at Arrowhead. Some of it was offensive ineptitude, with turnovers, sacks allowed and penalties. But most of this game was dictated by defense. Yes, good old-fashioned, hit’em in the mouth defense.

And the team that did the hardest hitting was the Chiefs. That’s why they won their eighth game of the season. On a day when the offense struggled to be both efficient and productive, it was the defense that stood up and won the game.   …Read More!

Chiefs Defense Keys 10-6 Victory

From Arrowhead Stadium

It did not have the flavor of an AFC West classic, one of those Sunday afternoons that will be remembered many years down the road for great play and classic moments.

For the most part what went down on Sunday afternoon was forgettable in the short term. But in the big picture, the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos was a hugely important outcome in their transition from also-ran, to pretender and now contender.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a big win for us,” said QB Matt Cassel. “I thought we came out and we were able to overcome some adversity. Hats off to the defense. They played well all day long.”

The Chiefs eighth victory of the season came courtesy of the defense, a group that could not achieve its No. 1 goal of the day – stopping the run – but did everything else at an extremely high level, including keeping the Broncos out of the end zone.

Now 8-4 on the season, the Chiefs head to San Diego for the most important December game for the franchise in the last four years. Even with the Chargers stunning loss on Sunday to the Raiders that leaves San Diego 6-6 on the season, a victory at Qualcomm Stadium is imperative for Todd Haley and his team. …Read More!

Chiefs Set Up San Diego Showdown

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was not the best performance of the season for the 2010 Chiefs, but they were able to pull enough together on offense and special teams to overcome an unproductive offense and grab a 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Now 8-4 and still on top of the AFC West, they now head to San Diego where they must face the defending division champion Chargers in a game that will go a long way to deciding whether they are pretenders or contenders. The Bolts helped matters by losing to the Oakland Raiders.

This Sunday’s game had just one touchdown for both teams and that was the difference for the Chiefs as TE Leonard Pope caught a two-yard pass from QB Matt Cassel. While he had been the hottest receiver in the league, Dwayne Bowe was shut out by the Broncos defense. RB Jamaal Charles did run for 116 yards and Cassel’s numbers included another game without an interception.

It was the defense that got things done, as they sacked Denver QB Kyle Orton four times and held a 1,000-yard receiver in Brandon Lloyd to two catches for 31 yards.

We’ve got it all covered:

  • GAME STORY – Defense saves the day.
  • COLUMN – Forget ugly, this one was pretty.
  • SIDEBAR – Coaches make nice.
  • SIDEBAR – Bailey shuts out Bowe.
  • SIDEBAR – Brandon Carr to the rescue.
  • SIDEBAR – Barry throws a tantrum.
  • NOTES – Punting Colquitts and other notes.
  • REPORT CARD – Chiefs earn passing grades.

Pre-Game Coverage – Broncos & Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

CB Brandon Flowers will play, FS Kendrick Lewis will not as Chiefs set their inactive list. More details below.

10:00 a.m. CST – Good morning and welcome to week No. 13 of the 2010 NFL season. It is a chilly one this morning here at the stadium. Matters are not helped by a strong breeze out of the north. But the sun is out.

10:01 a.m. – FS Kendrick Lewis went through a workout a few moments ago for trainers and coaches. He looked like he was moving pretty well as he ran some sprints and back pedaling. Hard to tell from the reactions and body language whether or not he looked good enough to play today.

10:04 a.m. – Quarterbacks and receivers are on the field for their normal pre-pre-game warmup session and working among them is WR/RB Dexter McCluster. He announced on Wednesday that he was going to play, and more than likely took a reprimand from the coaching staff for stepping out of his role. During the week, McCluster worked at receiver and running back, so it sounds like he’ll have a full role today.  It will also be his first taste of playing in cold weather.

10:06 a.m. – Out early catching passes with the QBs and WRs is FB Mike Cox, dressed as if he is going to play today, indicating that fellow FB Tim Castille will not be active.

10:08 a.m. – CB Javier Arenas is out early working on his back pedal and assorted other moves. This has become a regular pre-game drill for Arenas, especially with so much time spent in recent weeks playing defense.  It sounds like if Brandon Flowers can’t go today, Arenas will continue in his nickel back role and Travis Daniels will start on the corner. Ultimately, it will depend on how frequently the Broncos go with three wides. …Read More!

Play-Action Puzzle … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

The play-action pass is one of the most underrated weapons available to a football offense.

When performed by a well schooled and practiced team, with all the “actors” playing their roles correctly, the play-action pass can devastate a defense. All it takes is a moment of hesitation from a defensive back or linebacker who thinks he’s about to stop the run, but then gets hit with a pass where invariably the defender is out of position.

As the Chiefs get ready to hit the final month of the 2010 regular season, they are developing into one of the better play-action offenses in the league. It will be a big part of their passing attack Sunday afternoon when the Chiefs welcome the Denver Broncos in an AFC West re-match. Kickoff is just after 12 noon and the TV coverage is available on CBS with Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon doing the talking.

Gannon can talk all day about the play-action pass because he was one of the best during his NFL career at faking the hand-off to a running back on what looked like a running play, only to keep the ball and throw it downfield.

The Chiefs have all the necessary ingredients to be a top-flight play-action offense. They have a head coach who believes in the edge the run fake and pass can give his team. They have a diligent quarterback who is intent on making it work. There is a veteran offensive line that is very good at making a play look like a run, while still preparing to block for the pass.

And most importantly, the Chiefs have a running game that really makes the play-action work. They are the NFL team leader in rushing with 174.3 yards per game. They like to run the ball, and they do it on average 35 times per game. …Read More!

Answer Bob – 12/4

Dan says: What Chiefs are likely to leave at end of year? What is timetable for signing guys like Hali, Flowers, Carr, Dorsey, Albert, Bowe and Charles to contract extensions?

Bob says: I’m sure the Chiefs are working behind the scenes trying to knock off a couple of those players. As it stands to the information currently available Hali, Carr and Charles are the only players you mentioned without a contract for the 2011 season. They are part of a group of about 25 players who are not signed for next year.

Besides those three that group includes DE Wallace Gilberry, OTs Barry Richardson and Ryan O’Callaghan, DL Shaun Smith, backup quarterback Brodie Croyle and veterans like C Casey Wiegmann, FS Jon McGraw and OLB Mike Vrabel. Getting in the way of a lot of contract extension work is the unknown of the labor agreement between the owners and players and what rules and restrictions will be in place for free agency.

Flowers is signed through the 2011 season, as is Bowe. Albert is without a contract in 2013 and Dorsey in 2014. …Read More!

Lewis Now Questionable

It does not happen very often but the Chiefs made an adjustment in their injury report to the league on Saturday afternoon, and it wasn’t good news for Todd Haley’s defense for Sunday’s game against Denver.

FS Kendrick Lewis was on the report Friday as probable with his ankle injury. On Saturday, the Chiefs downgraded him to questionable. That’s not a good sign when it comes less than 24 hours before kickoff.

It would now appear that Lewis will likely join CBs Jackie Bates (knee) and Brandon Flowers (hamstring) on the inactive list.

Saturday Broncos Nuggets

There’s a lot of talk this week among the media horde about the rekindling of the Chiefs-Broncos rivalry, thanks in part to the no shake-finger wag between Todd Haley and Josh McDaniels three weeks ago in Denver.

It’s going to take a lot more than that 10-second tantrum to fire up any type of real ill-will between these original American Football League cousins.

There are three reasons that athletic teams become rivals – geography, frequency of competition and championships. The first is not really a factor; although they are neighbors in a sense, there’s no natural physical tie between a team that plays east of the Kansas River and south of the Missouri River with one that lives in the foothills of the Rockies.

Playing each other twice a year, almost every year for 50 years creates memorable moments. But the Chiefs dominated the first 12 or 13 years of competition, followed by a 16 to 17-year window where the Broncos were dominate. Over the better part of the last 20 years these teams have gone back and forth., but neither team controlled the series.

And there have been infrequent moments when anything like post-season victory was on the line between these teams. Just once have they met in the playoffs – 1997, when the Broncos came to Arrowhead and left with a 14-10 victory on their way to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. …Read More!

The Road Goes Through San Diego

Shortly after the last Denver game, I wrote an article pointing out that the AFC West is really a two-team race between the Chargers and Chiefs, with the odds favoring the Chiefs.

The Chiefs have won two of the three games they needed to win to make themselves into a contender. Oakland has faltered as predicted and I believe the Raiders will take themselves totally out of contention in the next three weeks. Oakland’s next two games are against San Diego and Jacksonville on the road, and they will likely lose at least one game. Let’s hope it’s Jacksonville.

Unfortunately, San Diego isn’t co-operating. By beating Indianapolis on Sunday night, they won their second road game, keeping pace with the Chiefs. That game was their most likely road defeat, but they won in convincing fashion, just as they had in beating Denver the previous week. On top of that, San Diego is getting healthier and hasn’t lost a December game in years.

Unless San Diego or the Chiefs unexpectedly stub a toe this week, Kansas City will likely have to beat San Diego on the road in December to win the division. If they do, the tie breaker will tip in favor of the Chiefs, and the Chiefs should hold a two-game edge with three games to play, as long as they beat Denver this week. If they don’t, the teams should be tied and San Diego has the easier schedule.

San Diego’s remaining road games are Denver and Cincinnati. Their remaining home games are against Oakland, Kansas City and San Francisco. All those teams have the talent to win, but their willpower seems sporadic as their execution. K.C. has to play Denver this week, road games against San Diego and St. Louis, and then returns home against Tennessee and Oakland. Tennessee and St. Louis are tough teams, despite their records. …Read More!

What Might Have Been … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

One is left to wonder what might have been.

Let’s roll back time to the middle of December 2008. On the 14th of that month, the Chiefs were beaten 22-21 by the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. Less than 24 hours later, Clark Hunt walked into Carl Peterson’s office and told him that his retirement as president/general manager – one that was scheduled for a year down the road – wasn’t going to be soon enough.

Hunt had decided he was going to remake the entire Chiefs operation and he was going to start at the top. He did not want to wait three more weeks until the regular season was over or another year to make the all-important first move. Hunt was going to get a head start on finding a new leader for his family’s franchise.

But Hunt’s search for a new G.M. did not fly out of the blocks. In fact, it would take a month for a decision to be made and finally a deal worked out with Scott Pioli so he could come over from the Patriots where he was the vice president of player personnel.

It was on January 13, 2009 that Pioli was announced as the new G.M. and a new era of Chiefs football began.

Just the day before, there had been another major announcement involving a team in the AFC West. On January 12, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen introduced Josh McDaniels as Denver’s new head coach, replacing Mike Shanahan. McDaniels was also coming out of the New England organization where he had been part of Bill Belichick’s coaching staff for seven years, finishing up as the Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

And one is left to wonder … what if Hunt had pulled the trigger earlier on hiring Pioli? What if there was an agreement with Pioli so he could begin the process of finding a head coach once the 2008 regular season had ended?

What if that choice would have turned out to be a young man named Josh McDaniels? …Read More!

Friday 12/3 Practice Report-Update

From Arrowhead Stadium

It will be a battle  between two bruised and battered secondaries when the Chiefs host the Broncos on Sunday afternoon.

For the Chiefs, they have four defensive backs on their NFL injury report, including CB Jackie Bates who will not play because of a knee injury. On the other side, Denver has three defensive backs who have been ruled out: S Brian Dawkins (knee), CB Andre Goodman (hip) and S Darcel McBath (quadriceps).

When these teams met three weeks ago the Chiefs secondary was limping a bit without a pair of safeties. The Broncos took advantage of that with several long touchdown passes down the middle of the field. During Friday’s practice inside the stadium, Bates was not working and CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring) and FS Kendrick Lewis (ankle) appeared to be doing more watching than practicing.  Both were listed as limited participants in the session. FS Jon McGraw (head) was a full participant in practice.

Is there any advantage for the Chiefs in adjusting to these secondary injuries the second time around?

“When you have people miss or you think they are going to miss, sometimes you are able to get guys some developmental work,” said head coach Todd Haley. “That’s the good thing. There are some guys with good experience, even if its practice experience under their belt. Guys are working hard to get their bodies prepared and ready to go as possible. 

“I’m sure that’s an area where we will be working guys out right up until the last minute (on Sunday).” …Read More!

Survival In The Backfield … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

He stood in front of his locker on Thursday afternoon looking down at his hands and turning them over, flexing his fingers and rubbing the backs of his hands.

Jamaal Charles won’t be 24 years old until two days after Christmas. But he has the hands of an old man. There are bruises all over his hands and what looks like a healing cut near his left thumb. There is discoloration across all of his knuckles and the outside of his right hand looks a bit swollen.

And, he wears gloves when he plays!

“Nah, I don’t do anything special for my hands,” Charles was saying as he headed off to the showers. “Every guy in this room has problems with their hands. They get chewed up playing football.”

Charles held up his hands for inspection. “See, mine aren’t too bad,” he says of his fingers that are all generally aligned as they were when he was born. “Yeah, they look pretty good now.”

The key word there is now. In his third NFL season, Charles has carried the ball as a runner, receiver and returner a total of 568 times in 42 games, or an average of 13.5 times per game. The collisions of the game have scraped him up, but there have been no major dents to his armor. He had major shoulder surgery in the off-season, but that was to correct a problem that first popped up when he was playing at the University of Texas.

Jamaal Charles – he’s still a baby in the world of NFL running backs.

“I’ve just been working hard and trying to use the talent that God gave me,” Charles said. “I know those gifts can be taken away at any time.”

Those gifts have been paying off in big numbers for Charles and the Chiefs. They are 11 games into the 2010 season and Charles is No. 2 in the league in rushing yards with 1,021 yards on 161 carries. He’s 126 yards behind Arian Foster of Houston who sits in the first spot. Charles is No. 2 in yards from scrimmage with 1,380 yards, trailing only Foster who has 1,600 yards. …Read More!

Thursday 12/2 Practice Report-Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Led by the AFC’s Offensive Player of November, the Chiefs went through practice No. 2 of Broncos Week outside in the sunshine and mild temperatures for December in Kansas City. Plus, they had one of their offensive weapons going full speed and saying he would play on Sunday against Denver.

“Yes sir,” is how WR/RB Dexter McCluster answered the question of whether he was going to play against the Broncos. “After spending five weeks out, I”m 100 percent and ready to go. I’m just trying to go out there and not make mistakes and play fast.”

QB Matt Cassel received the player of the month honors from the league on Thursday, becoming only the second quarterback in franchise history to receive the honor. Steve DeBerg was named player of the month for September 1990.

“It’s quite an honor but it’s definitely more of a team honor than anything else,” Cassel said after practice. “It’s been quite a season so far and I just hope we can continue to get better each and every week.”

In the month of November, Cassel was completed 90 of 144 (62.5%) for 1,111 yards, 12 TDs, one INT and a 111.2 passer rating for the month. His 12 TD passes led the league during November and his passer rating was third in the NFL over that span. …Read More!

Hurt Or Injured? … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

They started in the last days of July and went through a month of training camp in St. Joseph that was very hot and nasty and very physical. They got four pre-season games behind them and now have practiced for the last 13 weeks.

That’s going on 20 weeks of bruises, scrapes, contusions, sprains and the like. Football is a game of collisions and when they happen they aren’t always pretty and the sometimes leave a mark. There are dozens of plays in each game like the one to the left, where QB Matt Cassel is being sacked and his legs are caught under Denver LB Mario Haggan. A serious injury as avoided there.

For the 2010 Chiefs, there has been a lot of hurt, but not so much injured in the first 11 weeks of the regular season. With the Parcellsian attitude that Todd Haley takes towards injuries, a player is going to have to have an ugly MRI, a red-light x-ray and a bone sticking out of his skin before the head coach considers a guy unavailable.

“I have great faith in our medical crew,” Haley said on Wednesday. “I think you want to be careful when you talk about hurt, injured and those things. I just say to them what I’ve said: we need all hands on deck and that won’t ever change. This is the NFL and you need to be contributing when you can as fast as you can. That standard was set last year really and we’re still in that foundation-building process but I don’t see that changing a whole bunch for our team. I just think we’re going to want everybody that can to be practicing and playing and there won’t be exceptions to that very often.”

Through 12 weeks of the regular season and 11 games, the Chiefs have placed only one player on the injured-reserve list because of injury – LB Mark Simoneau. He was with the team for only three weeks. They’ve since reached an injury settlement with the former K-State linebacker and he’s no longer part of the organization. …Read More!

Wednesday 12/1 Practice Report-Update

From the Truman Sports Complex

Another item for the file labeled “Chiefs coaches leaving no stone unturned” add K Ryan Succop with his own tackling drill during Wednesday’s practice.

Head coach Todd Haley had his team working outside in the cold and breezy sunshine and Succop was over near the defensive lineman with special teams coach Steve Hoffman, grabbing and knocking down tackling dummies.

All 61 players were on the field for practice, but only CB Jackie Bates was in the rehab area. Bates suffered a left knee injury in the second half on Sunday in Seattle. On the team’s official practice/injury report he was listed as did not participate. Everyone else was dressed and in practice, however many of them were doing more watching than working.

On the offensive line, RG Ryan Lilja (foot) was watching while Jon Asamoah was in with the No. 1 offensive line. LT Branden Albert was back working with the first team. Lilja was down as a limited participant. …Read More!

Tough Enough? … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Tough is one of the most misunderstood words in the language of football.

Maybe that’s because there are several different types of tough in the conversations about players and teams. Too often it indicates the physical side of the word, as in “he’s playing without a left lung; he’s one tough guy” or “they ran the ball down the other team’s throats and couldn’t be stopped because they are a tough offense.”

There’s another side to the word and that has less to do with the physical, and more to do with the mental and emotional side of the game. That’s used in statements like “they didn’t collapse after that turnover and went on to win the game; that’s a mentally tough team.” Or, “with everything that’s going on in his life, that guy is mentally tough to be able to come out and perform at such a high level.”

Mental toughness comes in understanding the game and knowing the situation a team faces on the field with each snap. It’s about comprehending the effort needed for preparation and achievement. Mental toughness comes from that cliché of one-play at a time, the mentality of not allowing the most recent play to effect the next one.   …Read More!


2011 Senior Bowl
Chiefs Players
College football
Combine 2010
Combine 2011
Cup O'Chiefs
Draft 2010
Draft Profiles 2010
Game Coverage
Hall of Fame
Mouth Of Todd
Other News
Practice Update





         Copyright 2010 Bob Gretz. May not be used or reprinted without the expressed written consent of Bob Gretz.