Divisional Weekend NFL Picks

by Ryan Jones on January 10th, 2014 at 9:00pm

It may not seem like it, but even though the Kansas City Chiefs have been knocked out of the playoffs, the NFL will still allow the rest of the postseason to play out.

Yes, the loss to the Indianapolis Colts still stings that much.

Seriously though, as we all know there are games that are being played this weekend and that means a chance to heal your wounds with a perfect batch of games. To me, that happens by taking three road teams.

Crazy? You decide.

Check Out The Divisional Weekend Picks

Will Shields Advances In HOF Voting

by Ryan Jones on January 9th, 2014 at 10:28pm

Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Will Shields was among the 15 mondern-era Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists announced Thursday. WillShields3

This is the third straight season the guard has made it to the final vote.

Considering he’s already come up short, I wouldn’t rule it out happening again, despite Shields owning a HOF resume.

In addition to being a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s and the College Football Hall of Fame, Shields started every game in his career and was selected to the Pro Bowl 12 times.

The only other offensive lineman among the finalists is first-year nominee Walter Jones, who also should be a no-brainer. The former Seattle Seahawk was a Pro Bowler nine times and All-Pro seven times.

Shields isn’t the only former Chiefs player to make the cut. Kicker Morten Andersen, who made 38 of 48 field goals during his two seasons in Kansas City, seemed like a bit of a long shot to make it this far. To me he was always very good, but the compiled stats made him appear better than he was.

The rest of the finalists are linebacker Derrick Brooks, head coach Tony Dungy, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, defensive end Michael Strahan, defensive end Charles Haley, defensive end Kevin Green, wide receiver Andre Reed, running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, safety John Lynch, cornerback Aeneas Williams and owner Edward DeBartolo Jr.

The fate of Shields and the other 14 finalists will be determined by the 46-member selection committee on February 1 in New York. A player will need a minimum of 80 percent of the vote for induction and here’s hoping one of the best guards to ever play the game will get the call.

Chiefs Will Try To Extend Alex Smith’s Contract

by Ryan Jones on January 8th, 2014 at 10:54pm

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With the Kansas City Chiefs playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts still fresh in everyone’s mind, the team immediately has to try and focus on 2014. They started earlier this week by inking 12 players to reserve/future contracts and will really kick into gear with free agency.

Though they have a long list of players ready to hit the market — headlined by starting left tackle Branden Albert — the Chiefs biggest target for a new contract may be one that still has a year left on his current deal, quarterback Alex Smith.

There was plenty of speculation about how the team would address Smith’s contract situation and according to NFP’s Jason Cole, the Chiefs will try to extend the quarterback’s deal. Kansas City owes Smith just $7.5 million in 2014, a number that is well below his market value after a fantastic 11-5 season.

Trying to work out a deal and getting one done are two very different things, so it’s not a lock the two sides can agree on Smith’s value. Especially when you consider the huge deals handed out recently, the negotiations could quickly turn south.

If that happens, the Chiefs could then let him play out the final year of his contract and re-visit the issue this time next year. And even if the two sides can’t come to terms in a year, Kansas City could slap the franchise tag on Smith, locking him in to a hefty one-year deal (last year’s QB tag was $14.896 million) instead of a long term contract.

Chiefs Sign 12 To Reserve/Future Contracts

by Ryan Jones on January 6th, 2014 at 11:57pm

The Kansas City Chiefs made their first moves of the offseason on Monday, signing 12 players to reserve/future contracts, including 10 that spent time on the team during 2013.

All eight of the players that finished the season on the Chiefs practice squad were among those signed: DB Malcolm Bronson, OT Chandler Burden, WR Frankie Hammond Jr., WR Jerrell Jackson, DB Vernon Kearney, FB Eric Kettani, WR Rashad Ross and LB/DE Ridge Wilson.

The two players that spent some time in Kansas City are TE Demetrius Harris and WR Fred Williams. Harris was on the practice squad for most of the season before being placed on injured reserve, while Williams had a brief stay with the Chiefs near the end of the season.

You might recognize the two newcomers, DT Chas Alecxih and DB Kevin Rutland. Alecxih was featured in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” as he tried to land a spot on the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh, while Rutland starred at Missouri.

Justin Houston Gets Good News

by Ryan Jones on January 6th, 2014 at 7:02am

JustinHoustonColts

The last couple of days have been pretty empty for anyone associated with the Kansas City Chiefs. Coaches, players, fans. Everyone.

But it looks like there’s some good news being delivered to the Chiefs in the form of a Justin Houston injury update.

The linebacker was the last in a long line of players to get knocked out of Saturday’s epic loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Houston had just returned from an elbow injury, but during the Colts final drive he had to be helped off the field.

There was some fear that Houston may have torn his ACL, which would have forced him to undergo a lengthy rehab. Instead he was diagnosed with a PCL strain and bone bruise, according to FOX Sports.

With his knee (and shoulder) not a concern, look for Houston and his agent to try and get a new deal out of Kansas City GM John Dorsey. The linebacker is entering the final deal of his rookie deal and if the two sides don’t agree on a new contract, don’t expect to see Houston at training camp.

We’ll try not to think about a potential hold out just yet. After all, Chiefs fans have plenty of awful things going through their mind right now, so instead we’ll just focus on the good news!

Chiefs vs. Colts: Game Balls

by Ryan Jones on January 4th, 2014 at 11:52pm

All the talk leading up to the Kansas City Chiefs Wild Card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts was how it had been 20 years since their last victory in the postseason. Well, now it will be at least 21 following the 45-44 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Of course, the Chiefs couldn’t just lose the game. They had to do it in a way that would completely tear the hearts out of each and every one of their fans.

It all started in a way that made it look like a good old fashioned ugly loss when Jamaal Charles was knocked out with a concussion on just the sixth play of the game. But Kansas City didn’t fold in the aftermath and instead finished that drive with a 6-yard touchdown to Dwayne Bowe from Alex Smith.

After the Colts responded with a touchdown drive of their own, the Chiefs offense ripped off 17 straight points to build a 24-7 lead. Included in that run were huge plays from Bowe (63 yards), Donnie Avery (79), Anthony Sherman (a shovel pass!) and two turnovers courtesy of Justin Houston (fumble recovery) and Brandon Flowers (interception).

The Kansas City offense managed to move the ball on the ground without Charles thanks to a solid effort from rookie Knile Davis and Smith showing why he was the team’s second leading rusher during the regular season.

The second half even started well, with the Chiefs getting another pick of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and turning that into seven points and a 38-10 lead.

After that things sort of get blurry for me.

Luck and Indy’s offense caught fire, led by Donald Brown (?!) and T.Y. Hilton. The combo of Hilton and Luck was nearly unstoppable, with the two hooking up at will in the second half.

No matter what Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton dialed up, Hilton was able to run free. He finished the game with 13 catches and 224 yards, both franchise records.

On top of the Colts being able to march up and down the field, they also got the bounces… quite literally. Brown had the ball down on the goal line in the fourth quarter and fumbled. But the ball bounced right into the hands of Luck as he was able to stretch the ball into the end zone.

Even with everything going the way of the home team, the Chiefs had the ball in the final minutes with a chance to win the game. Kansas City’s final drive, however, was hurt by a intentional grounding penalty as the Chiefs offense was at the Colts 39 yard line.

That drive came down to a 4th and 11 pass to Bowe down the right sideline that the wide receiver managed to haul in… out of bounds. And with that play, the Chiefs improbable season was over.

The Colts were suddenly owners of the second biggest comeback in NFL playoff history, only topped by the Bills beating the Oilers in 1993 after being down by 32.

No matter how long this loss lingers — and it sure feels like it’ll be a while — the Chiefs need to start focusing on what is in store for them in 2014. But before all eyes start looking towards the offseason, here is a look at the best players from the last game of the season on offense, defense and special teams.

See Who Stood Out For The Chiefs

Tamba Hali Active vs. Colts

by Ryan Jones on January 4th, 2014 at 2:49pm

The Kansas City Chiefs kick off the NFL playoffs Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. They’ve announced their seven inactive players for the game and there aren’t any surprises on the list.

Inactive:

QB Tyler Bray, OT Eric Fisher, TE Richard Gordon, C Eric Kush, LB Dezman Moses, DT Jerrell Powe, OL Rokevious Watkins

The Chiefs already ruled out Fisher earlier in the week, so his absence was expected. Donald Stephenson will start in his place and otherwise the starting lineup is complete on both sides of the ball.

Unlike the first time these two teams met, the Kansas City pass rush will have both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Hali started that game, but left with the knee injury that kept him out of practice this week. Houston didn’t play against the Colts at all and will be seeing his first action since dislocating his elbow against the San Diego Chargers in Week 12.

When the Colts beat the Chiefs 23-7, they were only able to sack Andrew Luck once. Having Hali and Houston getting after the quarterback all day should help slow the Indianapolis offense.

The Chiefs will also get starting left tackle Branden Albert back in the lineup. He’s missed a month with a knee injury and will have his hands full trying to protect Alex Smith against a fantastic Colts pass rush.

Romeo Crennel Is Back In The Game

by Ryan Jones on January 4th, 2014 at 11:20am

Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel by all accounts was happy to be retired. After all, it’s not hard to get beat into submission by a two win season. But according to reports, new Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is ready to name Crennel as his defensive coordinator.RomeoCrennel7

Crennel won’t be the last former New England Patriots assistant added to O’Brien’s staff, especially considering word that he doesn’t plan to retain any of the previous coaches.

Obviously things didn’t end well for Crennel in Kansas City, but the man knows how to run a defense. There will be some wondering if a man that will be 67 by the time training camp comes around is ready to keep up with the pace of the league.

The average age of the defensive coordinators from the top 10 units in the league was 50 last year. Out of that group, the oldest is 62 and the youngest is 39.

Crennel is a good man that deserves to work as long as he wants and I’ll be pulling for him. But O’Brien should learn from history that trying to recreate “The Patriot Way” hasn’t exactly been successful.

Fisher Out, Hali Expects To Play vs. Colts

by Ryan Jones on January 3rd, 2014 at 9:30pm

The Kansas City Chiefs officially ruled out right tackle Eric Fisher for Saturday’s AFC Wild Card matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, but left the door open for linebacker Tamba Hali to return to the field.

Fisher injured his groin on Tuesday and was unable to practice the rest of the week. Taking his place will be Donald Stephenson, who had been filling in for Branden Albert on the left side. With Albert set to return from a knee injury, Stephenson swings back to the right side and could turn out to be a better option considering he brings more experience to the table.

Hali was unable to practice this week for the Chiefs, but he was listed as questionable, which is technically a 50/50 chance of playing. However, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported on Friday that Hali not only planned to play, but at a high level.

In his eight years in the league, Hali has missed just three games due to injury. It should be considered a major upset if he doesn’t give it a go against the Colts.

Once you get past those two injuries, the Chiefs will enter Saturday’s game with perfect health. Only five other players are listed on the injury report and all are probable, including wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and linebacker Justin Houston.

Chiefs

Probable
Branden Albert
Dwayne Bowe
Justin Houston
Eric Kush
Ron Parker

Questionable
Eric Fisher

Out
Tamba Hali

Five Chiefs Named All-Pro

by Ryan Jones on January 3rd, 2014 at 5:54pm

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Last week the Kansas City Chiefs had eight players selected to the Pro Bowl. Today five of those eight players were given an even bigger honor and named to the 2013 AP All-Pro team.

Getting the biggest nod from the 50 voters were running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry, who were both named to the first team. Kick returner Dexter McCluster, defensive tackle Dontari Poe and linebacker Tamba Hali landed on the second team, a huge achievement in itself.

Charles shares his honor with LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles. The two Andy Reid backs managed to beat out the Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson. Joining Berry on the first team at safety is Seattle Seahawks star Earl Thomas, who is a good friend of Charles.

Poe was amazing this year, but it’s hard to feel bad about him getting beat out for first team by Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh. The second-year defensive tackle shares second team honors with three other players and an argument could easily be made that he was the best of the bunch this season.

Sharing second team with Ahmad Brooks of the San Francisco 49ers, Hali has put up 11 sacks, including a dominating five game stretch in which brought down the quarterback nine times.

McCluster is the only kick returner on the second team and was beat out by Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson. The All-Pro honor for McCluster comes a day after the NFL named him as the AFC special teams player of December.

As amazing as it is to get five players named All-Pro, just like the Pro Bowl voting, there was a huge omission. There’s no excuse for Derrick Johnson to not constantly mentioned among the best linebackers in the league after arguably his best season. First team All-Pro may have been too much to ask, but second team should have been a no brainer.

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