Behind Andy Reid, Chiefs enjoying a resurgence | Washington Times
"The locker room itself when I got here before anybody was added was a solid locker room," Reid said. "They had been through some ups and downs and they were still together, not only personally, but also from a football standpoint, a team standpoint. They were very close and they wanted to be better. …The players deserve the credit for that."
Just as everyone expected: One team is on the cusp of the playoffs, and the other is sinking. Except that the roles are reversed. It's the Kansas City Chiefs who can clinch a postseason berth, and it's the Washington Redskins who are mired in last place as the teams meet Sunday.
"I know we’ve lost three in a row," Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith said. "But you kind of flush that stuff behind you. You really have to look at it that we’re 9-3, we have a chance to win and a chance to qualify for a playoff spot. We’ve got a chance to go on the road, win a game and punch our ticket to the dance — that’s a huge opportunity. Not a lot of teams get to do that."
At 9-0, they were the feel-good story of the NFL, especially after coming off a 2-14 season marred by tragedy off the field and futility on the field. Eventually, reality set in. A five-game run of playing backup quarterbacks and downtrodden teams ended. So did a relatively injury-free season when Houston suffered a subluxation of his right elbow two weeks ago against San Diego and offensive tackle Branden Albert hyperextended a knee last week against Denver.
In the offseason, the dynamic pass rusher resides in Austin, Texas, and works out with his fellow University of Texas alumni Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson. Right now he won’t speak to the Pro Bowlers from Chiefs. "I haven’t talked to those guys this week, obviously, because we’re rivals right now," Orakpo said. "I know once the game comes, they’re gonna strap up be ready to go, I’m gonna be ready to go. And then once the game’s over, it’s gonna be all love."
But if you catch him for a moment, you'll quickly learn why he's among the best in the NFL: The pursuit of perfection drives him every day. Charles enters the weekend third in the NFL and tops in the AFC with 1,011 yards rushing, and his 4.6 yards per carry is tied for seventh among those with at least 100 attempts. He also has nine TDs rushing, one behind league leader Adrian Peterson of the Vikings.
"Everybody has to be gap sound," said inside linebacker Perry Riley, who leads the Redskins with 91 tackles. "They’re a great football team when it comes to running the ball. The offensive line blocks well, and Jamaal Charles runs as well as anybody in the league right now. So everybody needs to stay in their lanes, and we have to make sure we’re on top of Charles in the screen game. They like to get him out, dump it off to him. He’s as fast as any running back you’ll find. So that’s the most important thing."
While the Redskins will present some problems, they’re the kind of December opponent that teams preparing to make a postseason run handle with ease. It’s getting to be time for the Chiefs to show they’re one of those teams. Prediction: Chiefs 27, Redskins 20