Good morning! Running a little late this morning due to a late Christmas party (anyone have aspirin?). I would say today is an average day for Kansas City Chiefs news, but I am happy to report that we have a link to an ESPN exclusive interview. This was probably tough to pull off, but somehow they managed to get a hold of who really let us down last week: Matt Cassel's appendix. Enjoy.
Although the Chiefs’ punt-return average has improved this season from last year, their average has actually gotten worse on kickoff returns. Lacking star power and overall team speed in 2009, the Chiefs averaged 21.6 yards per kickoff return and ranked 25th in the NFL. This season, the team ranks 26th with a 20.5-yard average.
"It’s kind of tough," Arenas said, "but you see guys returning kicks every week for a touchdown. It’s not easy, but it ain’t impossible. It just hasn’t happened for us."
One reason it hasn’t happened is because McCluster missed five games because of an ankle injury. During that time, Arenas was leaned on more heavily as a cornerback, reducing his effectiveness as a primary returner. The Chiefs mixed in rookie Verran Tucker, and Haley said special-teams coach Steve Hoffman continues to design creative return plans. But the team is still trying to rekindle that first-night magic.
Chiefs seek another big return from KC Star
Once gain, the Rams could be seeing red - Kansas City red - when they look into the stands Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. That's because, once again, thousands of Kansas City fans are expected to invade the dome for Sunday's game between the cross-state rivals.
When the teams last met here, in 2006, about one in five spectators in the dome was a Chiefs fan decked out in Kansas City red. They weren't shy about cheering for their Chiefs, either.
"It's pretty bad when you've got to go silent count in your home stadium," offensive guard Adam Timmerman said after that game.
Rams expect a loud crowd Sunday — of Chiefs fans from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
NFL.com Video: Week 15: Chiefs vs. Rams Preview
After getting shut out of the Pro Bowl last season for the first time since 1978, the Chiefs have several candidates who should at least be a part of the discussion. Jamaal Charles is third in the AFC in rushing. Matt Cassel is the third-rated passer. Dwayne Bowe is the runaway leader in TD catches. Tamba Hali is second in sacks. Derrick Johnson, Glenn Dorsey, Brandon Flowers (at least before his injury) and Casey Wiegmann are all playing well enough to warrant consideration.
If the fan voting is any indication, the Chiefs might have a tough time getting any of those players to Hawaii.
Chiefs Defense - The Chiefs have a middle of the pack defense that the Rams should be able to find ways of exploiting through their typical offense. The Rams will need to use misdirection, spread running plays and multiple wide receiver sets to spread of the Chiefs defense. According to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs are strong against #1 wide receivers, but weak against 2-4 WRs and RBs. Look for Sam Bradford to spread the ball around whenever possible.
Gridiron Gab Week Fifteen Preview – Kansas City at St.Louis from NFL Gridiron Gab
It hasn't happened very often this season, but it looks like the Rams will have their full complement of defensive backs available for Sunday's game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Cornerback Ron Bartell (stinger) had limited participation in practice Thursday for the second day in a row, but got a fair amount of work in.
All hands on deck in secondary from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
It's been such a long time since there's been a "big game, must win" atmosphere this late in the season around here. Trying to actually pinpoint exactly when that was is kind of hard, since there are only two eyewitnesses still on the roster (Steven Jackson and Chris Massey) who can verify that such a moment ever happened.
But with less than 72 hours to go before Sunday's showdown in the Dome against the cross-state visitors from Kansas City, Chiefs vs. Rams is taking on that rare big-game buzz, mainly because the Rams know they need to keep on winning to keep alive their very real playoff hopes.
Rare buzz is in the air at Rams Park from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This was the scoop of a lifetime, but I could tell the interview was not going to be pleasant: Besides the horrific odor, Matt Cassel's appendix was definitely not in a good mood -- irritated and infected and on the verge of becoming fully inflamed.
He was also constantly spinning around to gaze at the exit and then back at his bodyguards, paranoid, I think, that after messing up Kansas City's first real shot at a division title in seven years, angry Chiefs fans were out to get him.If he never plays another down, Steven Jackson is in select company.
He was right, of course, but I didn't say a word.
Exclusive! Matt Cassel's appendix from ESPN
The battle of Missouri essentially comes down to Matt Cassel's health. Brodie Croyle was simply dreadful at quarterback a week ago, and the lack of confidence his fellow Chiefs had in him was palpable. The Rams are good enough to win at home even if Cassel plays, but I'm not sure they are ready to do that just yet. I like what Sam Bradford has done with so little at the wideout position, but I don't think he can overcome an early deficit against a talented KC secondary with the likes of Danny Amendola and Donnie Avery as his primary weapons.
Risdon's Football Meteorology for Week 15 from Real GM Football
Last week, the St. Louis Rams' running back became the 11th player in NFL history with six consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. It's a mark of durability that he's justifiably proud of.
Marshall Faulk, the Rams' starter in 2004 when Jackson was a rookie, had five straight 1,000-yard seasons. Among others in the 16-game season era who fell one season short of matching Jackson's feat are Eddie George, Tiki Barber, Edgerrin James and Ahman Green.
What's missing on the resume is meaningful games.
Running back hits milestones, longs for playoffs from The Winnipeg Free Press