Tag:Kansas City Chiefs
Posted on: September 7, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 3:07 pm
 

AFC position battles finally decided

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the more interesting aspects of Week 1 is learning all the winners of the training camp position battles. Here’s a rundown and analysis on some of the players who have officially earned a new starting job in the AFC. 

Derrick Johnson & Javon Belcher, ILB’s, Chiefs D. Johnson (US Presswire)

Both players handled nickel linebacking duties last season. Now, they’re replacing Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays in the starting lineup. Johnson, a former first-round pick who runs like a deer, should have replaced Williams last season. Coaches were looking for more physicality, though (Johnson is far better in space than he is in traffic). Belcher replacing Mays is a surprise. Mays’ critics love to gripe about the fifth-year pro’s lack of open-field speed. But for the type of speed that matters at inside linebacker – such as lateral speed and closing speed at the point of contact – Mays is excellent. Still, coaches are giving the more athletic Belcher a crack. Belcher was an undrafted rookie last season.

Justin Smiley, LG, Jaguars

In a long-anticipated move, Vince Manuwai moves to the second string in order to make room for newcomer Justin Smiley. Manuwai hasn’t been the same since blowing out his knee in 2008. Smiley, when he’s not battling shoulder problems, is one of the premiere run-blockers in the game. He is tremendous on inside pulls.

Anthony Smith & Sean Considine, S, Jaguars

This is more of an admonishment of Gerald Alexander and Reggie Nelson than testimonial for Smith and Considine. The Jaguars are making it clear that they expect sharp awareness and at least somewhat physical tackling from the safety position. Hopefully, they’re not expecting speed, because Considine offers little of that. He’ll play primarily in the box. Smith was a disappointment as a third-round pick in Pittsburgh, but physically-speaking, he was Jacksonville’s most impressive safety in training camp.

Joe Berger, C, Dolphins

Incumbent Jake Grove is a better player than Berger – much better, in fact. But frequent injuries make the seventh-year veteran unreliable (why do you think the Raiders dealt him to Miami in the first place?). Berger gives the Dolphins more stability on a week-to-week basis. That’s a big deal when you’re integrating two new guards (John Jerry and Richie Incognito).

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills

With Fred Jackson missing the preseason with a hand injury and Marshawn Lynch sitting out until the final game with an ankle injury, Spiller was able to snag more reps than initially planned. The explosive first-round pick was destined for the starting job anyway. Looks like he’ll have it right away.

Wade Smith, LG, Texans

When they signed him, coaches initially thought the journeyman utility veteran would be an excellent fit in the team’s zone-blocking system. Smith did nothing to change their minds. Helping Smith’s cause was the fact that last year’s starter, Kasey Studdard, struggles to consistently sustain blocks in pass protection.

Left guard is solved, but the Texans still haven’t figured out their starting right guard. Rumor has it that Mike Brisiel and Antoine Caldwell could wind up taking turns in Week 1.

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Posted on: September 7, 2010 1:42 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 1:45 pm
 

Week 1 Top Ten with a Twist: front offices

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The front office, like most of the players it pays, doesn’t take much of an offseason. The general managers and the other executives – player personnel and otherwise – are constantly remodeling the team. Get rid of the guy who’s too slow for the system, sign to an extension the cornerback who could be the league’s next breakout star, fire the coach who’s taken the team as far as he can, draft the perfect offensive lineman for the team’s scheme, etc.

And like the players you watch every week, these front offices are to be judged. In the first of our weekly Top Ten with a Twist, I’m grading out the front offices. Without further ado, here’s the list:

Top 10 Front Office Performances from 2010 Offseason

10. Chiefs: Second-year coach Todd Haley, after a rough first year in which he worked his team to the bone, has been more pleasant this offseason. He’s even been spotted … gasp … smiling. That’s probably because the front office, led by GM Scott Pioli, made his team better. Kansas City signed Thomas Jones – you know, the guy who was the NFL’s third-leading rusher last year before the Jets parted ways with him – and they had a good draft. Eric Berry and Javier Arenas will make a big impact in the secondary and Dexter McCluster will be a standout on offense. The Chiefs won’t sniff .500 this year, but they’re headed that way.M. Tannenbaum (US Presswire)
 
9. Raiders: Yes, Al Davis still makes bizarre decisions (he reportedly was the only one who wanted to keep Mike Mitchell and cut Steve Brown at safety that turned cutdown day into a confusing series of events), but the most important one this front office made was to rid themselves of JaMarcus Russell and to bring in Jason Campbell. Campbell will never be an elite quarterback, but he could lead Oakland back to respectability (meaning they’ll have a chance to go 8-8). Simply for getting rid of Russell, that makes the front office a shoe-in for this list, but they also drafted LB Rolando McClain with the first-round pick - they thought so much of him they traded away Kirk Morrison – and added LB Kamerion Wimbley.
 
8. Cardinals: While I absolutely hate the Derek-Anderson-is-starting-at-QB move, Arizona had a solid offseason. It let Matt Leinart go finally after it was clear he was never going to make it, but most importantly, it didn’t give in to Darnell Docket’s repeated requests during the past few seasons for contract extensions, not wanting to set a bad precedent by giving him an extension when he still had more than two years on his deal. But just before this season was to begin, the team rewarded him and possibly made him a Cardinal for life. Just for not folding, they’re in my top-10. Now, if the front office could just keep him from videotaping himself while in the shower …
 
7. Bengals: They had a good draft, selecting TE Jermaine Gresham, DE Carlos Dunlap, WR Jordan Shipley, CB Brandon Ghee and DL Geno Atkins, all of whom should get some (or plenty of) playing time. Further playing into the stereotype that the club is the NFL’s version of the Betty Ford Clinic, owner Mike Brown also brought in WR Terrell Owens and CB Adam Jones (you know him better as Pacman). Both moves could backfire, but they also could be outstanding. I’ll give major points off because the Antonio Bryant signing was a disaster (they spent $8 million and got only a couple practices out of him) and because they, for some strange reason, haven’t locked up a new contract with Marvin Lewis. If they lose him, there’s no way Cincinnati is back on this list next year.
 
6. Lions: Look, their defense has been terrible the last few years, and sure, the addition of star-in-waiting Ndamukong Suh in the first round of the draft was a no-brainer pick. But considering the number of occasions the Lions have screwed up their first-round selection, this one was actually the right move. Then, they got RB Jahvid Best later in the first round, and if concussions don’t prove to be a problem for him, that’s a nice pick. Adding WR Nate Burleson will help WR Calvin Johnson and QB Matt Stafford, as well. The defense probably still will struggle, but hey, at least Detroit is on the right rack. That’s not something you can always say going into a new season.
 
5. Vikings: Yes, the front office emasculated itself by outright begging Brett Favre to return to the team (pretty, pretty please), but ultimately, the Vikings knew they needed to make this happen. They needed Favre, because they obviously don’t trust Tarvares Jackson. I like the sixth-round Joe Webb pick quite a bit, and I like the trade of Sage Rosenfels even better. The trade for former Dolphins WR Greg Camarillo was a great addition when it was unclear what would happen with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. The Vikings know there’s no time like the present (especially when Favre is leading your squad), and they’re acting like it.
 
4. Seahawks: If we were going with the quantity over quality award, Seattle would be No. 1 without question. It started with the hiring of Pete Carroll, though I’m not sure he’s the right answer as the head coach (it’s hard to get an image of Carroll parachuting out of a sinking USC meteorite and landing softly and safely in the Pacific Northwest). He’s helped remake the roster through the draft (Russell Okung, Earl Thomas and Golden Tate) and through (what seems like) hundreds of other moves. I really don’t like paying so much money for backup QB Charlie Whitehurst, and I hate that the team has to pay most of T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s salary while he’s playing in Baltimore (hey, not every single one of those thousands of offseason transactions can work perfectly). But newly-acquired RB Leon Washington looks recovered from his knee injury and WR Mike Williams looks to be resurgent.
 
3. Ravens: I love the Marc Bulger signing (even if Joe Flacco doesn’t). WR Anquan Boldin also will prove to be a very good addition, and now with Houshmandzadeh in the mix, they’ll battle with the Bengals for the AFC North crown. I don’t think Baltimore is the favorite, but, with GM Ozzie Newsome in its corner, there’s no reason to think the Ravens won’t return to the playoffs. They’ve had some bad luck with their secondary, but I’m not sure how much else the front office could have done to improve it. The rest of the team will simply have to cover for the defensive backs.
 
2. Redskins: Above all else, they hired Mike Shanahan to run the team. This club has made some baffling decisions the past few years – none more so than handing Albert Haynesworth $100 million – but hiring Shanahan to show Haynesworth who is boss and trading for Donovan McNabb, who still has gas in his fuel tank, were good moves. How LT Trent Williams performs – the Redskins chose him over Russell Okung – will be a big factor in how well Washington plays this year. They’re not going to win the division, but they’ll be better than their 4-12 record from a season ago.

1. Jets: I’ve made no apologies for my thoughts that the Jets could play for the Super Bowl. Yeah, they weren’t great last year, at least until they got in the playoffs, but the front office has improved the team heading into this season. They brought in Antonio Cromartie to start next to Darrelle Revis, and they drafted another CB Kyle Wilson in the first round. They’ve taken care of three of their Core Four, and even if the timetable with Revis wasn’t ideal, at least the deal got done. Plus, the front office extended the contracts of Rex Ryan and Mark Tannenbaum when it didn’t have to do so (some see this as a negative, but I like the forward thinking). The jury is still out on LaDainian Tomlinson, but as a No. 2 RB who’s not overly expensive, I don’t mind the risk at all. The Jets are acting like they want to win the super bowl. How could you not love that?

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Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:57 pm
 

'Guls' Jackson and Cole, Chiefs' Charles injured

Posted by Will Brinson

Not a great game for anyone involved in the Chiefs - Eagles game on Friday night -- Kevin Kolb's first half was "meh" to say the least, the Chiefs appeared turnover prone, and Jamaal Charles, Trent Cole and DeSean Jackson left the game with an injury.

Jackson caught a four-yard screen pass from Kevin Kolb on the Eagles' first play from scrimmage (which followed a Charles fumble that was recovered by Cole) and got absolutely rocked by rookie safety Eric Berry. It was one of those hits where you see the ballcarrier headed to the ground, see a red flash come flying and then hear a noise on the television that creates a reaction loud enough to make the people in the other room wonder what you accidentally stabbed yourself with.

Jackson actually left with an "upper back injury " -- and will not return -- but it probably has something to do with Berry compressing his spine -- when you hear the hit tomorrow on replay, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Cole left later and while he won't return, the X-rays on his ankle were negative, which is certainly good news for the Eagles.

The Chiefs got even better news: according to Josh Looney of Chiefs Insider , Charles -- who hurt his elbow in what our own Dave Richard referred to as a "serious" looking injury -- is "back out and in full uniform on sidelines" to begin the second half.

So, good for the Chiefs, temporarily bad for the Eagles, although there's always the chance that neither injury ends up being too serious. We'll keep you updated as we hear more.

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Posted on: August 27, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Friday's preseason action: what/why to watch

Posted by Andy Benoit

Four preseason games on the docket tonight – all considered “dress rehearsals” for Week 1. Here’s what/why to watch.

Falcons @ Dolphins

You have brothers Peria and John Jerry squaring off. You have cornerback Benny Sapp’s highly-anticipated Dolphins debut. You have a forecast for rain (which, in Miami this time of year, usually means a downpour).

Strictly football-wise, Dolphins young cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith have struggled this preseason. If they have another rough night, you may start to here serious whispers of concern coming out of South Beach.

Redskins @ Jets

There’s always the Haynesworth watch (which is a reason to tune in for the postgame coverage, as well). There’s also the Hard Knocks drinking/gambling game (predicting which plays make it on next week’s episode of Hard Knocks – the payout from this obviously has to wait until Wednesday night, but you can lay the groundwork for it now).

Donovan McNabb is not playing, which means you get to see Rex Grossman square off against Rex Ryan’s defense. Watching Grossman at the line of scrimmage against the swarming Jets will be like watching a rattled foreigner ask for directions in the middle of oncoming traffic. Should be entertaining.

Chargers @ Saints (8:00 ET, CBS)

We’d play the “Drew Brees versus his former team” angle here, but one has to assume Brees’s Super Bowl ring – and San Diego’s lack of Super Bowl rings – makes that rivalry somewhat of a dead issue. Especially in the preseason.

So, instead, we’ll watch this game to once again see how the Charger offense performs without star left tackle Marcus McNeil and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. For most fans, this will also be the first glimpse of first-round rookie running back Ryan Mathews.

Eagles @ Chiefs

Some are saying Matt Cassel has something to prove and a chip on the shoulder and whatever else it is that athletes supposedly find for motivation. Tonight will be Cassel’s truest test thus far in Charlie Weis’ system.

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Posted on: August 21, 2010 11:49 pm
 

Initial reports on Maurice Leggett positive

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Chiefs CB Maurice Leggett and his Kansas City teammates had a scary moment in the second half of Kansas City’s 20-15 loss to the Buccaneers. After helping bring down Tampa Bay’s RB Kareem Higgins, Leggett stayed on the turf for a lengthy period of time and had to be taken off the field by cart.

Chiefs Insider
Josh Looney tweeted that both teams held hands and prayed for him but that Leggett was moving his arms and legs.

Afterward, coach Todd Haley said Leggett would stay in Tampa for the night but that the initial tests on Leggett’s extremities were positive. Leggett is nothing more than a nickel back for the Chiefs, but perhaps his biggest value to the team comes on special teams.

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Posted on: August 20, 2010 10:59 am
 

Bowe trying to get back on track

D. Bowe is trying not to be so much of a knucklehead (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

An interesting story today by the Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger on the status of WR Dwayne Bowe.

Bowe, as you know, was a first-round pick in the 2007 Draft, and while he’s been pretty good for much of his career, he hasn’t quite lived up to his expectations. In part, it’s because he, at times, isn’t exactly a mature young man (the headline of the story actually refers to him as a knucklehead).

And because he keeps dropping the ball (11 times in 11 games last year).

A passage from the story:

We can see that (QB Matt) Cassel at least cares, that he’s doing everything possible to be good. With Bowe, he is still too easily distracted to say with any confidence.

So far, Bowe is showing occasional flashes, which is good, but also more of the obnoxious behavior the Chiefs have spent so much energy trying to quash. That’s not so good.

Bowe isn’t talking to the media — a smart move for him and his teammates’ marriages — but his inner knucklehead is still very much here.

He has talked to fans during drills in which he’s going the wrong direction and stood away from his teammates toward the end of last week’s game in Atlanta to hold the TV boom mic.


In the Chiefs first preseason game, Bowe recorded zero catches, and while Kansas City’s coaches don’t seem bothered by that, Cassel and Bowe have to begun connecting at some point. Especially since much of Cassel’s success will ride on Bowe.

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:31 am
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:46 am
 

Hot Routes 8.16.10: Media wants Tebow's autograph

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link we should feature in the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) or email will [dot] brinson [at] cbs [dot] com .
  • Unsurprisingly, the comments on my "Tebow was impressive" article were all like "WHAT GAME DID YOU WATCH?!? HE PLAYED AGAINST SECOND- AND THIRD-STRINGERS!" That's true. But you know what? Tebow is so freaking amazing that he's inspiring media members to ask him for autographs -- according to Alex Marvez on Twitter , two members of the press walked up to Tebow after the game and asked for his signature. That's a big no-no (doi), because not only do you immediately shred any sense of objectivity about the person you're covering, but it's a clear-cut case of abusing the access that press members have. Next thing you know, they'll start serving us delicious food at games too! No, but seriously, this is embarrassing; a quick Twitter-poll reveals that most people agree what they did was quite annoying, etc.
  • Of course, all the Tebow love in the world won't change the top spot on the Broncos' depth chart -- Dave Krieger of the Denver Post writes that "it's not close" when it comes to how far ahead Kyle Orton is. That's true, but as a I mentioned last night, it would be somewhat surprising if Tebow didn't hop Brady Quinn for the No. 2 spot in Denver.
  • There were three No. 1 overall quarterbacks involved in the San Francisco - Indy tilt, with David Carr, Peyton Manning and Alex Smith all getting action during the game. That may be a fact that interests only me. (And it only interests me because I have a weird obsession with Carr, aka "Mister Mittens." )
  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has a handy "10 things to watch" list for the Jets preseason opener. You'll never believe it, but a Darrelle Revis-less defense's play is near the top. On a fairly random note, my girlfriend (who does NOT care for football) watched "Hard Knocks" and freaking loved it. Downside: she asked if it was okay to cheer for the Jets in 2010. I begrudgingly said yes.
  • Kent Somers notes that Larry Fitzgerald -- he of the recently sprained MCL -- was prepping to have his best season ever as a pro and wants people to not "write him off." Geez, Larry. That's a lot to ask. From what I hear, he's going undrafted in almost every fantasy league after this injury.
  • Chicago Breaking Sports has video of Jay Cutler stating that the Bears were just "a few blocks away from some big runs." Yeah, and I'm just "a few hundred thousand dollars away from being a millionaire." (10 to be exact.)

Posted on: August 14, 2010 9:16 am
 

Hot Routes 8.14.10: Roster Bubbles and Mannings

Got links for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or send an email to andy[dot]benoit[at]cbs[dot].com.

Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill is out a few weeks with a knee injury. Considering he could face further suspension from the NFL for violating the personal conduct policy, and considering he hasn't lived up to his big contract as of late, this injury basically solidifies his backup status.

Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley could be on the roster bubble in Denver. It's okay, though, whether he's on a team or not, we can still describe him as "scrappy" (i.e. "white").

Hard Knocks viewership is up 37 percent this year. Nearly ¼ homes with HBO in the New York area tuned in to Wednesday’s premier.

Dolphins cornerback Will Allen will miss the rest of the preseason after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Allen has been having problems with the knee he blew out last October.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post says, based on what he’s heard, Elvis Dumervil is expected to return from his torn pec sometime during the regular season.

Colts offensive coordinator Jim Christensen will be on the sideline during games, not up in the booth. Indy’s previous playcaller, Tom Moore, preferred the sideline as well.

Will Brinson apparently already posted this in yesterday's Hot Routes, but since port-a-potty is a super-hyphenated term we rarely get to use on this blog, I'm going with it again. So...Chiefs assistant coach Maurice Carthon used a port-a-potty for one of the running back drills. It was meant to develop hand-eye coordination. Click here if you can’t resist an explanation.

Colts say there’s no timetable for Manning’s contract talks.

Speaking of Mannings…if you’re interested in reading about what it’s like to be married to Eli, click here.


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