Good morning! We have lots of Kansas City Chiefs stories for you this morning. Today's news includes more praise for Houston, and books on Lamar Hunt and the history of the Texans (Chiefs)/ Cowboys rivalry in the old AFL days. Keep reading for that and many previews of tomorrow's game at Arrowhead. Enjoy!
Justin Houston Emerges As Major Playmaker For Chiefs from KC Star
As a newcomer to the Chiefs last spring, offensive tackle Eric Winston wanted to know about this young outside linebacker who was giving him so much trouble.
"I asked, ‘Who is this guy?' because I couldn't block him," Winston said. "Then we go to camp, and I thought maybe when I get some pads on, it will be different. He gave me some problems in camp, and I consider myself a decent player, and I was having struggles with him."
Winston is not alone. Second-year outside linebacker Justin Houston is making life miserable for right tackles and opposing quarterbacks all over the NFL.
Derrick Johnson Joins United Way NFL Team from The Mothership
Kansas City Chiefs'
Derrick Johnsoncan hold his own on the football field. More than that, the All-Pro linebacker proved he can be a driving force behind the momentum of a game. But it's his efforts off the field that make Johnson stand out amongst the many talented players in his league.
Johnson recently joined United Way TEAM NFL, a group of civic-minded, college-educated NFL athletes whose current focus is on improving education in America.
KCChiefs.com Video: From The Podium: Romeo Crennel Press Conference
KCChiefs.com Video: Clark Hunt - Exclusive Interview
NFL.com Video: Week 3: FedEx Air And Ground Winners
NFL.com Video: 'Playbook': Chargers vs. Chiefs
NFL.com Video: 'NFL Fantasy Live': Charles Rushes By
Chiefs Notes: Daboll Glad He Stuck With Plan from KC Star
When the Chiefs fell behind 24-6 in the third quarter in New Orleans last week, it would have been easy for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to forget about Jamaal Charles and the running game and call nothing but passing plays the rest of the way.
Daboll resisted that temptation, and he and the Chiefs were rewarded for it.
The definitive biography of Kansas City Chiefs Founder Lamar Hunt will be released on Tuesday, Oct. 2., but Chiefs fans will get an exclusive opportunity to purchase Lamar Hunt: A Life in Sports ahead of the general public at the Chiefs Team Store at Arrowhead Stadium beginning Sunday, Sept. 30. The book is also available on www.kcchiefs.com.
The Kansas City Chiefs announced that Ramón Murguía has been named the local recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, a recognition made possible through the support of Bud Light. The award recognizes the contributions of Hispanic leaders in each NFL market. This is the second year that the NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) have partnered in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Chiefs will honor Murguía during pregame festivities on Sept. 30th at their Hispanic Heritage game prior to hosting the San Diego Chargers.
Chargers, Chiefs In Another Arrowhead Showdown from The Associated Press via The San Jose Mercury News
It was on Halloween night at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chargers were at the Kansas City 15 with less than a minute left on the clock. The game was tied, kicker Nick Novak was limbered up on the sideline, and quarterback Philip Rivers crouched under center and asked for the snap.
He never had the chance to take a knee...
...The Chargers return to Kansas City for an early season AFC West match-up that has implications for the top of the division. San Diego (2-1) is coming off a disheartening 27-3 loss to Atlanta, while the Chiefs (1-2) have been buoyed by the biggest comeback in franchise history, which allowed them to stun New Orleans 27-24 in overtime last weekend.
Chiefs Game Preview: Week 4 vs. Chargers from CBS Sports
Who matters: Matt Cassel. Cassel made several clutch throws late in the game against the Saints to keep the comeback alive. But for most of the game, Cassel was not good. He often threw too high, putting his receivers in vulnerable positions. The Saints have the worst rushing defense in the NFL, and the Chargers rank sixth, allowing 67.3 yards per game. So it's not going to be as easy to run the ball and it's likely the Chargers' focus will be to stop the Kansas City run. Cassel will need to play better to move the ball against San Diego's defense. He also needs to do a better job of getting rid of the ball -- he's taken 11 sacks in three games.
Chargers Game Preview: Week 4 vs. Chiefs from CBS Sports
Key matchups: Chargers LT Mike Harris (undrafted, UCLA) or LT Jared Gaither vs. Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali. Hali led the Chiefs with 12 sacks last season, three of which came against the Chargers. Harris has played LT in each of the first three games in place of Gaither, who has been out since the start of training camp with back spasms. Harris had his worst performance last Sunday. Gaither returned to practice this week but was only limited. He is listed as questionable. Gaither will be expected to go the entire game if he does play, and that may be a bit of a stretch because it was difficult for him to stay in cardiovascular shape while dealing with back pain. RT Jeromey Clary will also have his hands full with OLB Justin Houston, who had three sacks last week including a safety. Houston is in a three-way tie for most sacks ( 9.5) from Week 13 of last season through the first three games of this season.
San Diego Chargers To Use New Kicker Against Kansas City Chiefs from The Associated Press via Sports Illustrated
The San Diego Chargers will have a new kicker Sunday in Kansas City, with the team saying regular kicker Nate Kaeding didn't make the trip for the game.
On the injury report Friday, Kaeding was listed as questionable because of a right groin injury.
Chargers vs. Chiefs: Who To Watch from NBC San Diego
Jackie Battle: He spent 5 seasons in Kansas City, so he can add some valuable insights. He's also the Chargers leading rusher and the only San Diego running back to score a touchdown on the ground. Norv Turner said Ryan Mathews fumbling problems would limit him in certain situations, so expect Battle to see more action.
Division-Leading Chargers Looking To Rebound Against Chiefs from CBS Los Angeles
Keep in mind that Cassel, who was signed by the Chiefs a few years ago after essentially one big performance backing up Tom Brady in New England, enters Sunday's game ranked 27th among all NFL quarterbacks after three weeks, a passer rating of 73.8 to his credit. Again, if you are the Chargers, make Cassel and not Charles beat you.
Why The Chargers Will Win: Kansas City Chiefs from Bolts From The Blue
The Chiefs are going to live or die with him as their starting QB, at least in 2012. That's good news for the Chargers, who Cassel has been terrible against.
Cassel has played the Chargers 7 times in his career, once as a Patriot and 6 times as a Chief. The only team that he has a worse QB Rating against is the Detroit Lions, whom he's played just once. Against San Diego, he's completed 56.3% of his passes and averaged 142 passing yards per game. He's thrown 9 interceptions and has lost 2 fumbles against just 6 touchdown passes.
Chiefs' Win In New Orleans Inspires Hope from The Examiner
It's one game, but with that win the Chiefs' playoff chances doubled and if Kansas City beats San Diego everything is back under control.
If the Chiefs rein it back in then what Crennel and Scott Pioli said on it not being the end of the world looks right. The ones that claimed the sky was falling will need to rethink it.
No problem, I take my crow with a little lemon and salt!
Man Hired To Make New Drum For KC Chiefs from The Sacramento Bee
In 1964, the Chiefs introduced an 8-foot-tall drum for gameday entertainment at Arrowhead Stadium. At the time, the instrument was believed to be the world's largest tom-tom, at least according to Chiefs lore.
"The reverberations of the drum are rumored to have been heard from blocks away from the stadium when the drum was used to rally fan support," according to press notes from the team. "The Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders, then known as the Chiefettes, were charged with beating the drum to incite excitement in fans."
For their 50th anniversary season, the Chiefs are reintroducing the drum.
Chiefs Need To Get Some Attitude from The Examiner
The current Chiefs regime has reduced the best fan base in the NFL to an all-time low. In the past, Chiefs fans would always love the process at Arrowhead Stadium on Sundays - win or lose. Now they begin the exodus during the third quarter and the afternoon buzz is difficult to listen to.
Lamar Hunt and Carl Peterson promoted the team and gave the fans a team experience to live and die for. The new bottom line approach combined with the New England game plan give local fans a team that they just can't stomach.
The Light Has Come On For Justin Houston from ProFootballTalk
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston didn't record his first NFL sack until Week 13 of last season.
He must have liked the way it felt, because Houston's been bingeing on sacks since then. In the last five games of his rookie season and the first three of this season, Houston has picked up a total of 9.5 sacks. That leaves the 2011 third-round pick tied with Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware for the most in football over that time period.
Three New Books Capture Dallas Cowboy History from The Dallas Morning News
Eisenberg, who grew up in Texas in the 1960s while the Cowboys and Texans were in the midst of their PR war, is the author of a superb book on Vince Lombardi, That First Season. He is a masterful reporter with a sharp eye for a dramatic twist: His story ends when, after the merger of the two leagues, the Cowboys met the Chiefs in an exhibition game in the Cotton Bowl in 1970, and the Chiefs won, 13-0.
Oddly enough, Lamar Hunt, who died in 2006 at the age 74, comes across more clearly in Ten-Gallon Warthan he does in Michael MacCambridge's biography, A Life in Sports. MacCambridge, author of America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation, does an admirable job of filling in Hunt's background and enumerating his achievements, quoting ESPN, who upon Hunt's death called him "a soft-spoken man who changed the face of pro football."
Five NFL Teams Most Desperate To Win In Week 4 from NFL.com
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Beat the San Diego Chargers at home, and it's like the Chiefs' slow start never happened. They'd be in a three-way tie for the muddled AFC West lead, just like many of us expected. Lose the game, and they'd be two games behind a Chargers squad that already would have two road wins in the division. This week will help shape the Chiefs' season.
Players On The Spot
Chiefs safety Eric Berry: The Kansas City Chiefs' defense was dreadful through two weeks; Derrick Johnson told me they didn't even put together a decent half in that span. Thanks to fortuitous field position and scrappy play, the Chiefs finally got one after the break in New Orleans last week. As a result, they're playing for first place in the AFC West this week. And if anyone figures to be key against the downfield-minded Chargers, it's Berry.
Final Word: AFC West from ESPN
Chargers have had trouble in new Arrowhead: Sunday will be the Chargers' third trip to Kansas City since Arrowhead Stadium was renovated. The first two games have been disasters for San Diego. In 2010, in a Monday-night season-opener, the Chiefs beat the Chargers in a monsoon. Last year, in another Monday-night game (on Halloween), San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers dropped a snap with the Chargers primed to kick a game-winning field goal in the final seconds of a game that Chiefs would take in overtime. Yes, it's a new season, but the Chargers have to be wondering what can go wrong this year at Arrowhead.
Welcome To The Elaborate Chat from Grantland
Q: Out or morbid curiosity today I looked at the wild card standings to see how far out my Royals were, for the same reason cutters inflict pain on themselves (to remind themselves their alive.) They're only 15 games out. Those are the kinds of thoughts you have as a Royals fan - only 15 games out of the wild card! But did you know the Red Sox were 18 games out? Kansas City fans are looking down on you. And you didn't think this baseball season could get any worse.
-Dennis M., DC
SG: That cut deep. If the Red Sox finish the season 3-3 or worse, they'll officially become the worst Red Sox team of my lifetime. Good times ... never seemed soooo good! So good! So good! So good! Meanwhile, we're one realistic Chiefs victory away from the Chargers finishing September with a disappointing record as everyone wonders if Norv Turner's job is safe. Since this scenario has happened every September since 1939, I'm picking the Chiefs.