Hali, Fisher Still Unable To Practice

by Ryan Jones on January 2nd, 2014 at 11:48pm

If Tamba Hali and Eric Fisher are going to play in Saturday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, they’ll have to do it without practices under their belt this week.

For the second straight day, the linebacker and right tackle were unable to practice. Fisher was out on the field early in the week, but that’s when he strained his groin and hasn’t gotten the helmet back on since. Hali has been out all week and missed the loss to the San Diego Chargers — though he wouldn’t have played even if he were healthy.

Of the two, Hali is much more likely to play than Fisher. The veteran has been ridiculously durable during his career, missing just three games in eight seasons. Head coach Andy Reid also told reporters he isn’t worried about rust, but just the health of his knee.

“We’re not going to put him out there if can’t play,” Reid said. “I think at this point of the year, he knows the scheme and he’s got it down. The important thing is the swelling is out of his knee and we’re sure that what’s causing the swelling is a position where it’s not hurting him for the future.”

My money is on Hali giving it a go the way he has throughout his career. On the other hand, it would be a surprise if Fisher played and Donald Stephenson, who has filled in at both tackle spots, is a more than capable backup.

Once you get past those two injuries, the Chiefs are healthy heading into Sunday’s playoff game.

Chiefs

Full Participation
Branden Albert
Dwayne Bowe
Justin Houston
Eric Kush
Ron Parker

Did Not Participate
Eric Fisher
Tamba Hali

Dexter McCluster Named Player of the Month

by Ryan Jones on January 2nd, 2014 at 11:18pm

The NFL announced their players of the month for December and unfortunately leading the pack is Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning. However, the Kansas City Chiefs are proudly represented by Dexter McCluster, who was named special teams player of the month.

It’s perfect cap to a solid regular season for the Pro Bowl-bound McCluster. The shifty returner managed to snag the award despite missing a game against the Oakland Raiders. He ended up returning 12 punts for 232 yards and a touchdown.

The biggest game of the month for McCluster came in Week 14 against the Washington Redskins, when he took a punt 74 yards to the house and put up 177 yards total.

Now this weekend McCluster will get a chance to celebrate his award by taking advantage of the faster track at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.

Eric Fisher, Tamba Hali Miss Practice

by Ryan Jones on January 1st, 2014 at 9:58pm

When the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Indianapolis Colts Saturday afternoon in the Wild Card Playoffs, they will be close to full strength. The two biggest question marks before kickoff will be right tackle Eric Fisher and linebacker Tamba Hali after both missed Wednesday’s practice.

Hali was shaken up in the Chiefs loss to the Colts two weeks back and sat out with almost every other starter last week against the Chargers. There was optimism the linebacker could practice this week, so the extra day of rest could just be a precaution.

With Hali’s running mate, Justin Houston, a full participant in practice after missing the last five games, the Kansas City pass rush could finally be back to full strength. When these two teams met two weeks ago Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was sacked just once.

Fisher was expected to be a go for Saturday after battling several injuries, but aggravated his groin during Tuesday’s practice. His absence would hurt the Chiefs from a depth perspective, but Donald Stephenson could actually be a better option against a tough Indianapolis pass rush led by Robert Mathis.

Everyone else on the Chiefs injury report was a full participant, including wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was not only cleared to practice but also play. He was able to pass the mandated concussion test and barring a setback will be ready to play Saturday afternoon.

Chiefs

Full Participation
Branden Albert
Dwayne Bowe
Justin Houston
Eric Kush
Ron Parker

Did Not Participate
Eric Fisher
Tamba Hali

Chiefs Swap Linebackers

by Ryan Jones on December 31st, 2013 at 1:53pm

Days before they kick off the NFL postseason, the Kansas City Chiefs made a swap at linebacker at the bottom of the 53-man roster. The team placed James-Michael Johnson on injured reserve and signed free agent linebacker Robert James.

Johnson got a chance to start for Derrick Johnson last Sunday as head coach Andy Reid rested 20 of his 22 starters. He had to be helped from the field and now will miss the postseason.

A fifth-round pick of the Falcons in 2008, James saw action in 18 games during three seasons in Atlanta. During 2012 he played in all 16 games, posting 11 tackles before moving on to Baltimore this season, where he played one game with the Ravens.

It would make the most sense that rookie linebacker Nico Johnson — frequently inactive this season — will get the call in place of James-Michael, but don’t count out James moving along quickly. The team could have promoted LB/DE Ridge Wilson, who spent all of training camp with the Chiefs and was signed to the practice squad last week, but opted for James instead.

Tony Gonzalez Makes It Official

by Ryan Jones on December 31st, 2013 at 7:00am

Be honest, you were holding out some hope that Tony Gonzalez would decide he wanted to finish his career in Kansas City and would put off retirement for a second time. Not so, the future Hall of Fame tight end says, thus ending an amazing career and the hopes of dreams of countless Chiefs fans.

After the Atlanta Falcons finished their season with a 21-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Gonzalez met with a huge group of reporters.

“It’s humbling. I’m just so lucky to be surrounded by such good people, the teammates that I’ve had,” Gonzalez said. “Guys like Tony Richardson, Jason Dunn, Trent Green, the list goes on and on. The coaches. Coach Vermeil, Coach Schottenheimer.”

“I look back and I say to myself, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’”

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt released a statement Monday to recognize the amazing run Gonzalez had in the NFL.

“On behalf of the entire Chiefs family, I want to congratulate Tony on an incredible career,” Hunt said. “What he was able to accomplish during his time in the NFL is truly remarkable, and I have no doubt that Tony is a first-ballot hall of famer. We were very blessed to have him in a Chiefs uniform for 12 seasons and his contributions on and off the field were extraordinary and will never be forgotten. I want to thank Tony for his time in Kansas City and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. He will always be considered a part of the Chiefs family.”

Head coach Andy Reid — always a fan of tight ends in his offense — also wanted to pay tribute to Gonzalez.

“I’d like to take just one minute to shout out to Tony Gonzalez, who is one of the all-time great Chiefs and he’s decided to hang up the cleats, although he probably could continue to play, the guy is unbelievable that way,” Reid told reporters. “It’s a tribute to him as a man, for how he handled himself as a person and obviously all the records that he set from that position; he is one of the all-time greats and I’m sure a future hall of famer. I’m proud to have known him, and still know him, and I’m hoping he enjoys retirement and does as well there as he did on the football field, which I’m sure he will with that Cal education.”

Even the often-questionable judgement of HOF voters aren’t going to be able to deny Gonzalez from entering Canton on his first try. The only tight end in NFL history to put up four 1,000 yard seasons and owner of both the Chiefs rookie of the year and MVP team awards is the perfect candidate to get in on the first ballot.

Chiefs Are Wild Card Underdogs vs. Colts

by Ryan Jones on December 30th, 2013 at 10:26pm

The Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts will kick off the playoffs this Saturday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium. These two teams squared off just two weeks ago with the Colts coasting to a 23-7 victory.

In that first matchup, Andy Reid’s team was favored by seven points. However, after seeing how uneven the first game looked and considering the change of venue, the line has moved the other way, with the Colts favored by three points over the Chiefs.

Considering what we saw in Kansas City two weeks back, oddsmakers clearly don’t expect another beat down, especially with some books setting their line as low as two points. If you consider being the home team earns you three points, this playoff game is more or less a pick ‘em.

Every team would rather be at home in the second season, especially when you consider how nuts the Sea of Red would be in a playoff atmosphere. But this season, it might not be the worst thing for the Chiefs. After all, their 6-2 record on the road was the best in the NFL and one game better than their mark at Arrowhead.

Plus this time around the Chiefs will be at full strength. In the first game starting left tackle Branden Albert and linebacker Justin Houston sat out with injuries, but both are expected to be 100% Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis.

Chiefs vs. Chargers: Game Balls

by Ryan Jones on December 29th, 2013 at 10:03pm

The Kansas City Chiefs finished the regular season Sunday afternoon in San Diego against the Chargers in a game they were supposed to lose handily. After all, head coach Andy Reid decided to rest 20 of his 22 starters and the Chargers would be headed to the playoffs with a win.

Instead, the backups gave San Diego everything they could handle, even holding a 10 point lead into the fourth quarter before a few defensive lapses and a missed field goal (not to mention two botched calls by the officials) opened the door for the Chargers to pull out a 27-24 overtime win.

If the Chiefs would have held off the Chargers, it would have been former Kansas City head coach Todd Haley and the Pittsburgh Steelers sliding into the sixth seed in the AFC. Instead, San Diego gets that spot and with the fantastic effort from the Chiefs second unit, the focus around the league will be on those missed calls.

The first was on Succop’s missed field goal in the final seconds of regulation. The Chargers overloaded one side of the formation on the pivotal play, which should have been flagged as an illegal formation under a new rule. Instead, the officials missed the call, the missed field goal stood and San Diego had a second life in overtime.

That second life looked to be over when the Chargers, faced with a fourth and two deep in their own territory, called a fake punt. Though they cleared the two yards needed for the first down, San Diego safety Eric Weddle fumbled and Kansas City seemed to return the ball for a touchdown… except officials ruled forward progress was stopped.

It looked like the pile was clearly still moving, but forward progress is not a reviewable play. So the Chargers kept the ball, were awarded the first down and ended up driving down the field for what would turn into the game-winning field goal.

Now the Chiefs get to prepare to play the Indianapolis Colts on the road next week, while the Chargers are headed to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. But before we focus on the second season, here are the Kansas City players that stood out Sunday on offense, defense and special teams.

Read more…

Chiefs To Sit 20 Starters vs. Chargers

by Ryan Jones on December 29th, 2013 at 3:09pm

The Kansas City Chiefs should be well rested for next week’s first round playoff matchup. In addition to keeping seven of their best players inactive for the game, they have made changes in their starting lineup at 20 of 22 positions.

Looking to keep track of who will be playing today in San Diego against the Chargers? Here’s a complete breakdown of the changes:

Defense

Allen Bailey for Tyson Jackson
Jerrell Powe for Dontari Poe
Mike Catapano for Mike DeVito
Frank Zombo for Justin Houston
Nico Johnson for Akeem Jordan
James-Michael Johnson for Derrick Johnson
Dezman Moses for Tamba Hali
Marcus Cooper for Brandon Flowers
Ron Parker for Sean Smith
Husain Abdullah for Eric Berry
Quintin Demps for Kendrick Lewis

Offense

A.J. Jenkins for Donnie Avery
Donald Stephenson for Branden Albert
Rokevious Watkins for Jeff Allen
Eric Kush for Rodney Hudson
Rishaw Johnson for Jon Asamoah
Sean McGrath for Anthony Fasano
Junior Hemingway for Dwayne Bowe
Chase Daniel for Alex Smith
Knile Davis for Jamaal Charles

Chiefs Best Players Inactive vs. Chargers

by Ryan Jones on December 29th, 2013 at 2:15pm

The Kansas City Chiefs will wrap up the regular season Sunday afternoon in San Diego against the Chargers and they’ve announced their list of seven inactive players. It’s a who’s who of Chiefs playmakers, finally revealing how little head coach Andy Reid plans to play his impact players in this meaningless game.

Inactive:

OT Branden Albert, WR Dwayne Bowe, RB Jamaal Charles, LB Tamba Hail, LB Derrick Johnson, DT Dontari Poe, QB Alex Smith

We already knew Bowe and Hali were ruled out, but the rest of the inactives are made up of the most important players to the Chiefs playoff success. Charles, Smith and Albert are the anchor of the Kansas City offense, while Johnson and Poe hold things down on the other side of the ball.

After sitting out for three weeks, Albert had been preparing to play this week to get the rust out for the playoffs. But considering he’s a veteran that should be able to work things out very quickly next week, it makes sense to keep the franchise player on the sidelines for one more game.

Obviously only seven players can be inactive, but even those big names that are technically active — LB Justin Houston, CB Brandon Flowers — shouldn’t expect to see any action.

Instead it’ll be the backups that will get a chance to show what they can do in a game the Chargers need to win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. Leading the way will be Chase Daniel, who has attempted just 17 passes in his five-year career. Undrafted rookie Tyler Bray could see some time behind Daniel.

Also getting a long look will be RB Knile Davis, who has been Charles’ backup, but thanks to a bout of fumbleitis has the Chiefs coaching staff wondering if he can be trusted in important spots.

We should get our first extended look at offensive linemen Rishaw Johnson and Eric Kush, who are poised to make their first career NFL starts.

Week 17 NFL Picks

by Ryan Jones on December 28th, 2013 at 5:00pm

The Kansas City Chiefs will basically approach Sunday’s matchup with the San Diego Chargers like a preseason game. Thanks to so many teams knowing their fate, the Chiefs will not be alone.

It’s the total unknown from so many teams that always makes this final week of the season one of the scariest/most fun to try and predict. We’re looking at a season-high five double digit games to go along with four games 3.5 points or less just for fun.

If you have the heart to try and work your way through this final batch of regular season games, I’ll try to help you make those final decision.

Check Out All The Week 17 Picks

NFL Blog Directory