Good morning everyone. I've just settled into the press box here at FedEx Field. It is a miserable day in Washington D.C. It's currently 43 degrees (but feels like 36) with a light drizzle. It should climb a couple of degrees but this is about the way it's going to be the rest of the day.
I got here very early. Originally I had planned the drive being well over an hour with D.C. traffic and all but I made it here in great time.
Here are a few things that have been going on this week as we wait for the 12:00 CST kickoff.
Branden Albert is of course out. Wade Smith will take his spot. That's definitely a position to keep an eye on today.
Last week, right guard Mike Goff went down and was replaced by Andy Alleman. Goff's been under heavy criticism from those outside the organization as of late but as far as we can tell he's healthy, has practiced all week and will play on Sunday.
Jarrad Page injured a shoulder at some point. I don't recall seeing an injury occur during the game against the Cowboys but he didn't practice on Wednesday and has appeared on the injury report all week. Haley said on Friday he was "much improved" from where he was earlier in the week so it's looking good for him. If he can't go, Jon McGraw would start in his place.
Nothing really to report on the Cassel injury report - Haley was asked whether his quarterback was completely recovered from a MCL injury that sidelined him for week one. The coach indicated that he's not completely healthy, and can feel some discomfort in the knee at times, but it's nothing that has been limiting him (or else it would be on the injury report, right?).
No other injuries to note, which is nice. The Chiefs have been relatively healthy this season. I went back and looked at the injury reports during Herm Edwards' last year here and he seemed to always have a couple extra names on there compared to the Haley's first season. I'm working on that post so look for it in the next few days.
This week Chiefs coach Haley had a little shake-up in his coaching staff. Former NFL player Richie Anderson, with Pioli, Haley and Parcells connections, will now take over as receivers coach for Dedric Ward, who is expected to remain on staff in some capacity. Receiver Bobby Wade said this week that it's important to have a close relationship with your position group and stressed continuity as a key factor in that. Ward also said Anderson has been at practices and meetings and he doesn't expect much to change with the players.
Interestingly, Arrowhead Pride commenter soybon reminded us that almost 10 years ago to the day, Todd Haley was replaced as the Jets receivers coach by Charlie Weis mid-season. It doesn't have any bearing on this situation but it's an interesting note during this transition period for the coaching staff.
There have been discussions around here on whether the coaching shake-up is a sign that Haley's having trouble with his staff. Some will say yes, while others will say this isn't a sign of managerial issues for the coach.
More No-Huddle Coming?
And the big story around the mainstream media this week was whether the Chiefs success in a two-minute drill situation last week against the Cowboys will result in more no-huddle situations for Haley and the offense. With their backs faced against the wall, Cassel and the Chiefs uncharacteristically drove the length of the field in the waning minutes against the Cowboys. Some penalties helped, of course, but so did clutch receptions by Wade and Dwayne Bowe.
The success on that drive has prompted some to wonder whether the Chiefs should try to replicate that situation throughout the Redskins game. It makes sense but, as Rich Gannon pointed out this week, that would put quite a strain on the defense. For example, a no-huddle offense could still result in a three-and-out except, and that means the defense gets even less time to rest in between possessions.
There's been no definitive word from Haley on whether the no-huddle will be employed more often.
GM Scott Pioli on the Road
With the Chiefs sitting at 0-5, and possibly looking at another top draft pick in April, some of the talk around here has begun to focus on college prospects. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli spoke to 610 Sports earlier this week and broke down what his weekly schedule looks like now that college teams are beginning conference play.
Monday/Tuesday: Usually at Arrowhead as injury reports begin to come in and free agents are worked out
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday: Travel to schools to watch practice and tape on possible prospects.
Saturday: Return to Arrowhead or, in the case of this week, meet the team out on the road.
Sunday: Chiefs game
And then start all over again.
As for a bit of local flavor, Pioli said he attended the Missouri/Nebraska in Columbia last week. I heard he left after three quarters. He did say, however, that he was looking at a top defensive player on Missouri (Sean Witherspoon?) and Nebraska (Ndamukong Suh?).
Quote of the week
Reader Submission: Warren E. Murray Jr. (Sports Illustrated), in response to a story on the Detroit Tigers' ownership:
As a Redskins fan I have seen our franchise destroyed by Daniel Snyder, whose response to this recession has been to aggressively sue lifelong season-ticket holders because they are now unable to afford their tickets. America knows what this recession has cost Detroit, but at least in the area of pro sports ownership, Detroit is better off than many other communities.