Sure, the Chiefs might have finished the preseason 0-4 but that doesn’t mean there weren’t positives you can take away. As Doug Tucker reports, the term “sack” shouldn’t be a rarity in Kansas City this season.
That’s a term Kansas Citians had little occasion to use all through the 2008 season, when the Chiefs set a 16-game NFL record for pass-rushing futility by taking the quarterback to the ground a paltry 10 times. They needed a sack in the season finale at Cincinnati just to break into double figures. But it was easy to put all that out of their mind, as long as they avoided friends, canceled the newspaper and stayed glued to the Weather Channel.
“It seemed like they were talking about it every time I turned on ESPN,” defensive lineman Tank Tyler said with a wince. “Then when we went back home, we got teased all the time — `You guys can’t sack the quarterback.’ I blamed myself.”
They can sack the quarterback now, at least in the preseason. In four games, admittedly all losses, the Chiefs racked up seven sacks out of their new 3-4 alignment. Also a big help, they say, is a more confident and aggressive attitude hewn from head coach Todd Haley’s unrelenting in-your-face approach.
Since he was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round in 2007, Tyler is 6-26. He and his teammates are tired of avoiding people, weary of grabbing the TV remote and then hesitating.
“It doesn’t feel good to lose and we don’t ever want to get that losing feeling back. This is a new season for us.”
If Tyler think he got it bad last season, what about those of us that don’t get paid to take the abuse? As a fan you always want to be able to defend the team you cheer for, but last season there was no defending the Chiefs defense. Ever. “Oh, they forced a couple punts” or “At least no one got hurt” were not the kind of arguments that held much weight.
With the regular season “officially” kicking off with practice yesterday, Bob Gretz reminds us all that every corner of the locker room has a different story.
In one corner of the room, OLB Tamba Hali had his nose buried in his cell phone, still refusing to speak with reporters, something he started back in training camp. At the other end of the room, SS Mike Brown was talking about the Chiefs defense.
“We’ve got the schemes down and we know what the coaches expect from us,” said Brown. “Now it’s just about reacting. All the thinking is done. From now on it’s going to be more about reacting and playing fast.”
Brown is running with the No. 1 defense at strong safety.
Not far from Brown was the newest member of the Chiefs, OT Ryan O’Callaghan. The big man (he’s 6-7) was surrounded by reporters for the first and probably last time in the room. He said his first step was learning the plays.
“I think there’s a good opportunity here. I feel like I can contribute.”
Across the room ILB Demorrio Williams was peeling tape of his left leg, enough that it looked like he was wrapped up like a mummy. He too did not want to talk which is too bad because Williams is the Lazarus of the ‘09 Chiefs. Declared roster dead just a few weeks ago because of all the time he spent rehabbing early in training camp, Williams for the season opener at least will be in the starting lineup.
This was one of the best things Gretz has written since preseason started and that’s saying a lot. You need to click over for the whole thing… such a great read.
It really is amazing to hear all of the different stories that come out of each team’s clubhouse. Just look at Williams. Here’s a guy that if you poke around here or listen to our podcasts, I just assumed it was a matter of time before he was on the unemployment line. Then he gets healthy, starts making plays and combine that with Derrick Johnson’s inconsistencies and he’s a starter.
With the expected changes throughout the season, there should never be a lack of new stories inside the locker room.
When the Chiefs roll into Baltimore this weekend, they will be introduced to two new ravens along with the rest of the football world.
Several weeks ago, the Ravens’ equipment staff received a package in the mail containing what appeared to be a tiny pair of jockstraps. What the heck, they asked, are we supposed to do with them?
Eventually, someone got word to Gabrielle Dow, the team’s vice president of marketing, who told the equipment staff that it wasn’t a mistake. They were actually tiny diapers, and the team needed them to outfit two new ravens, not two new Ravens.
Birds. Not football players.
Rise and Conquer – two West African ravens – were purchased by the team recently as part of a partnership with the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, which will oversee their training and care. The birds will be a prominent part of the team’s pre-game festivities and will also make regular appearances in the community.
Rise and Conquer will make their public debut at a news conference today at the Baltimore zoo and attend their first Ravens game Sunday when the team opens against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Does this mean the Chiefs will have to add a real wolf to their game day festivities?