While there are still questions about Matt Cassel’s status for Sunday, there is no question Larry Johnson is ready to go.
“You get to a certain age, a certain spot in your life where you just feel comfortable,” Johnson said on Thursday after the Chiefs practice session. “I think that’s what it is, being able to be comfortable and focus on what I have to do Sunday.”
If Johnson can do this Sunday what he did the last time he played against the Baltimore Ravens defense, it would not guarantee a Chiefs victory. But the chances of winning would certainly be enhanced, no matter whether Matt Cassel starts at quarterback or not.
Back on December 10, 2006, Johnson carried the ball 23 times for 120 yards in a 20-10 loss to the Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium. It was one of 11 games where he gained 100 yards or more that season.
It was however, the last time the Baltimore defense gave up a 100-yard rusher. That’s a streak of 35 regular season games since the Ravens allowed any back over 100 yards. It’s actually a streak of 39 games if the post-season is included.
What Johnson was able to get done that cold day at Arrowhead three years ago was impressive. He gouged the Ravens for a 47-yard run and averaged 5.2 yards per carry for the game. Those are numbers that backs simply don’t do against the Baltimore defense.
“They’re very tough to run on. It’s no cakewalk. They try to get you for every inch and every yard you ever gain. You’re going to get gang-tackled. It’s a fun game, especially for a person who likes that aspect of the game, of being able to run the ball downhill and get hit by two or three guys. That’s usually what football is all about. ”
It’s good LJ enjoys getting hit, because the Ravens will hit him in the mouth every single time he touches the ball. That sort of physical style is something we haven’t seen Jamaal Charles have to deal with so it could very well be the Larry Johnson show Sunday. It’s unrealistic to expect 100 yards, but as long as the Chiefs can move the ball enough on the ground to open things up on the outside for Dwayne Bowe it will be a successful day for the running game.
The Chiefs wasted no time putting their locker room bulletin board to use this season. The first “offender”? Ravens quarter back Joe Flacco.
The quote, lifted from the Ravens’ Web site was apparently in response to a question from Baltimore reporters on what kind of challenge the Chiefs face opening the season with a new coach, a new quarterback and playing on the road.
Flacco responded, in part: “I don’t think it’s a good way to begin it. We’re going to come in here and play well, and I don’t think they’re really going to want to play us by the end of the game.”
On the Ravens’ Web site, but not quoted in the Chiefs’ locker room, his comment continued: “I’m a Baltimore Raven. I’m obviously not going to say it’s a good thing for the Kansas City Chiefs to come in here (and start their season).”
It’s probably not enough to inspire the Chiefs to an upset victory. But running back Larry Johnson indicated some players might find it offensive.
“It doesn’t bother me, because he’s an offensive player. If I was a defensive player, then yeah, I’d be a little (irritated). I don’t have to go against him. If I was a (defensive back) or linebacker, that would be something different. Guys talk. It’s his second year. He’s young. He’s trying to find his niche and really be confident and have the team rally around him. That’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s the quarterback, and he has to be the leader of the team. We’re not going to fight in the newspaper or put any ink on what we’re going to do.”
I’ve heard better smack playing pickup basketball with guys that have just as much athletic ability as I do (meaning none). If Todd Haley, Clancy Pendergast or one of the players is trying to fire up the team they might want to just make something up that has a bit more bite than what Flacco said.
Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth has played against Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe three times in the past two seasons. But Foxworth doesn’t plan on relying on those experiences much when Kansas City comes to town Sunday.
“It’s not more of an advantage than watching film,” the cornerback said of his previous matchups with Bowe. “I think that’s the best way to prepare, go into the game with no preconceived notions about an individual. Just watch the film and use that to prepare.”
Foxworth said he and Fabian Washington will split time on Bowe, with occasional doses of Chris Carr and Frank Walker. Foxworth expressed confidence in the cornerback corps against Bowe.
“I think he has all the tools to be an exceptional receiver in this league. But we have more than two corners with all the skill to match up against a guy like that.”
I think that statement is a lot more inflammatory than what Flacco said and I hope someone is posting it in Bowe’s locker. The Ravens defense is fantastic, but I promise you they do not have more than two corners that can cover Bowe one-on-one.
Todd Haley is sitting in Arrowhead right now hoping that Baltimore tries to get away with Walker or Carr on Bowe.