Good morning! Lots of Kansas City Chiefs news for you today including recaps and reviews of the game, reaction to the Baldwin-Jones incident, and a report about how close Jamaal Charles was to being traded to the Redskins. Enjoy.
As for the game, the Chiefs were far more competitive than they were in last week’s exhibition opener against Tampa Bay, but it still didn’t result in a victory.
The Ravens scored three touchdowns in the game’s final 7:15 in overcoming a 13-10 Chiefs lead. Up to that point, the Chiefs were more efficient on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense.
Chiefs Lose 31-13 to Ravens in Second Preseason Game from KC Star
They actually scored a touchdown this week, and played with more passion; a level of intensity worthy of an NFL game, whether pre-season or regular season.
Friday night, the Chiefs were able to gain a measure of rehab on their football standing, playing with thoughts of execution and production and not protection of bodies.
Effort Was Better, Outcome Was Not from Bob Gretz
Cerrato said the Chiefs countered by asking for a third-round choice. Washington refused and trade talks died.
But the Chiefs were that close to losing Charles.
The Chiefs Almost Traded Jamaal Charles from The Red Zone
KC Star Photo Gallery: Ravens 31, Chiefs 13 : Friday, Aug. 19, 2011
NFL.com Video: Camp Conversations: Todd Haley
NFL.com Video: Chiefs vs Ravens Hightlights
Kansas City coach Todd Haley immediately tried to soothe any concerns about the pick:
"We spoke to Jonathan at length at the combine, a number of us. He was one of our formal interviews and we had him in here as one of our 30 visits that were allowed and we feel like we have done our due-diligence and I am very comfortable making him a Kansas City Chief."
You have to wonder if Haley still feels that way. A report out of Chiefs camp Friday stated that Baldwin got into a "locker room scuffle" with veteran running back Thomas Jones, which resulted in an injured wrist for Baldwin that could cost him the entire preseason.
Jonathan Baldwin's Character Issues Return In Reported Fight With Thomas Jones from Sports Illustrated
The red flags about Baldwin's character and desire were why other teams passed on him before the Chiefs took him.
Kansas City was applauded for not only addressing a need but also taking a player who was viewed as a good value and a likely immediate contributor. Who knew that the short-term return would be a guy who already has locker room issues.
"It’s family business," said SS Eric Berry. "It’s not something that anybody is going to talk about outside the family."
But there’s no doubt that the Chiefs and Baldwin face a long road of rehabilitation for his wrist and his reputation, whether the organization wants to acknowledge the situation or not.
All Is Quiet On Baldwin vs. Jones Bout from Bob Gretz
The Chiefs can try to ignore this incident and tell their players not to talk about it, but the story of the preseason has consequences both on and off the field. This is a horrible look for Jonathan Baldwin, the first-year receiver who already carried a reputation as a diva, and the second time Thomas Jones is known to have fought a younger teammate.
Those are both minor sidebars to the big takeaway: General manager Scott Pioli and the Chiefs’ decision makers look foolish today.
Credibility of the Chiefs takes a hit from KC Star
If all he suffered was a wrist injury that will keep him out for several weeks, then he should consider himself quite lucky.
It’s going to take a lot longer for Baldwin to recover his pride and reach a point where the guys who share the locker room with him consider him a true teammate, somebody they are willing to bring into their band of brothers.
Baldwin Loses Fight, Pre-Season from Bob Gretz
What we learned
Matt Cassel can still pass the ball. A week after coach Todd Haley put Cassel’s right arm on a one-game sabbatical, the Chiefs quarterback completed six of 14 passes for 73 yards. He was imperfect, but after such a long layoff, that wasn’t entirely unexpected.
When he’s sitting on the porch at the Old Quarterbacks Home and telling stories to his great-grandchildren about his career he won’t remember facing the Baltimore Ravens and throwing for 73 yards on a six of 14 attempts night for a decidedly mediocre 59.5 passer rating.
But Cassel was thrilled.
Cassel Happy For The Throws from Bob Gretz
Scoreboard aside, the Chiefs did show several encouraging gains in notable areas. Most visible was overall improvement at the line of scrimmage.
Tyson Jackson appeared to turn in one of his better performances as a Chief. He, along with Kelly Gregg and Glenn Dorsey were able to keep pressure on Ravens QB Joe Flacco even when the Chiefs didn’t bring second-level pass rushers. When blitz packages were called, rookie Justin Houston led the charge with a pair of sacks coming off the edge.
The Morning After: Baltimore from The Mothership
Poor offense, OK defense and OK special teams. Compared to last week, it was a nice look for the Chiefs. Compared to what they need to compete on a weekly basis in the AFC, it wasn’t nearly good enough to push them back to No. 1 in the AFC West or into the field for the 2011 AFC playoffs.
But it was a step in the correct direction, and that has to be considered progress.
Some Things Got Done This Time from Bob Gretz
Haley opted to remove Cassel one play after left tackle Branden Albert suffered an apparent injury. The specifics of Albert’s injury weren’t disclosed.
Albert wasn’t the only one who was reminded about the rigors of an NFL game. Cassel was sacked once and was hit another time after throwing a pass.
"That’s what football is all about," he said. "You really don’t feel like you’re out there until you get hit."
The good news is that the starters, though struggling a little on offense in the first quarter, looked much better against a team that many think can win the AFC this season.
Chiefs Fall 31-13 to Ravens; WR Baldwin Hurt in Locker Room Fight from Examiner.com
Which brings us to the real question; whether Todd Haley will trust these new faces enough to allow his offense to become a little less dependent on the tag-team tandem in the backfield. I think Haley honestly wants to make strides in that direction.
Will the Chiefs Throw the Ball Much? from ESPN
The Chiefs are expected to take a step back in 2011, if only temporarily. The team is actually better now after a solid draft class by general manager Scott Pioli, but a schedule featuring New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and other juggernauts will make it difficult for Kansas City to keep San Diego at bay in the AFC West.
Cassel will need another solid year to convince critics that he’s capable of leading his team to greatness, and he’s not the only one facing questions. If it all comes together again, the team has a chance to again compete for a division title. If one or more players suffers a 2010 hangover, the Chiefs could find themselves hoping only to be a .500 team.
Kansas City Chiefs 2011 NFL Team Preview from Athlon Sports
Figuring what’s best for Charles: It has driven many Kansas City fans crazy that the Chiefs don’t give Jamaal Charles more carries. Thomas Jones had 245 rushing attempts last season, while Charles had 230. Jones fell off toward the end of the season, but Charles was spectacular. He had 1,467 rushing yards, second in the league. The Chiefs want to increase his numbers but also want him to stay fresh and healthy, so don’t expect his workload to fly through the roof.
Camp Confidential: Chiefs from ESPN
Vince Lombardi said he’d rather have a team full of above average guys than superstars, but to Joe Fan, a specific strength is a plus.
Back in the day with James Hasty, Dale Carter and Brian Washington, the Chiefs boasted a hard-hitting secondary. It’s been a while, but what the Chiefs have today just might be better. The Chiefs have a shot at something special with Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis.
Lewis Proving to be a Better Pick Than Most First Thought from The Examiner
You've had it with college football, huh?
The recent allegations at Miami -- strip clubs, hookers, an abortion! -- are the tipping point. The game's so filthy you wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot dance pole.
Before you fold, before you never flick on the TV on Saturday afternoon or toss, consider this:
On April 27, a category EF5 tornado, the mother of tornadoes, struck Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the surrounding area. The death toll was 236. The destruction was unfathomable.
Bama's Tornado Aid Shows Good In Sports from The New York Post