It's a Red Friday, and we have a full plate of Kansas City Chiefs news to start it out. There are some great stories ahead, so get to reading. Go Chiefs!
"This whole rookie class had to grow up real fast," said Lewis, a fifth-round draft pick who has started seven games at free safety. "You’re going to see things. Guys have to step up.
"We’re rookies coming in, true enough, but I know the position I was put in."
The position that Chiefs rookies were put in isn’t much different from the one everyone else in the locker room had to embrace: Each player is important, and each is expected to take his job seriously. Players at some positions, though, have less margin for error, and whether they participate or not often has a bearing on the Chiefs’ chances of winning. Lewis plays one of those positions.
Up next for the Denver Broncos is the one team they've managed to beat in the past two months.
They're not exactly exhaling.
The Broncos (3-8) don't expect their rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) to be anything like it was three weeks ago at Invesco Field, when Denver jumped out to a 35-0 lead and won by three touchdowns.
"An old game, a new month," is how Denver defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson described the rematch.
Broncos could be walking into hornets' nest from The Washington Post
KC Star Photo Gallery: AFC player of month: Chiefs QB Cassel
KC Star Video: Faith in Matt Cassel
The nameplate above the locker of linebacker Mike Vrabel has been replaced by one reading, "Jerry Atriks." Vrabel is 35.
The nameplate has been on Vrabel’s locker for a couple of days, and he said he has no plans to take it down.
"It’s appropriate," he said. "I like it. The funny thing is some of these guys are asking, ‘Who’s Jerry?’ "
Cassel has his locker next to Vrabel’s. He was initially the prime suspect in the prank, but the nameplate was actually made by injured wide receiver Jerheme Urban.
Chiefs notebook | McCluster says he’ll play Sunday from KC Star
"I don't want to stop at a thousand," he said. "I want to keep it going. It doesn't really mean nothing to me, because I already did that already. I want more.
"A thousand yards is not enough for me. I want to keep it going. I know it's good to rush for (1,000) back-to-back, but I already did that. I'm just trying to get more."
Charles no longer impressed with 1,000-yard seasons from The Red Zone
FoxSports.com reported today that the Chiefs filed tampering charges against the Lions, an accusation that, if proved, could result in a fine and loss of draft picks. A person familiar with the allegation said it centers on Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and Page, though the particulars of the charge are unclear.
Report: Chiefs file tampering charge against Lions from The Detroit Free-Press
Q Do you think the last game at Denver was a turnaround game for this team's passing offense?
CASSEL: "I think if there was one positive that we were able to take away offensively from that game was that we were able to give ourselves a little bit of confidence in the passing game and realize that we can throw the ball if we need to. It has definitely given us confidence as we have moved forward and you have seen a little bit more production from us in the passing game these past few weeks."
Quick 5: Matt Cassel – AFC Offensive Player of the Month from The Examiner
Drivers will have full access to Stadium Drive between Interstate 435 and Manchester Trafficway during a temporary reopening of the roadway on Sunday, Dec. 5.
Dwayne Bowe is in the midst of a sensational streak, which has pushed him into rarefied air. He has a league-leading 14 touchdown receptions, including 13 in the past seven games, putting him on pace to challenge Randy Moss' single-season mark of 23 scores. He also ranks fifth overall with 885 receiving yards and is tied for the fourth-most receptions (14) over 20 yards.
While those impressive statistics are obvious signs of Bowe's arrival, it has been the transformation of his game over the past year that has convinced me he is worthy of entering the conversation about the next great players at the position.
The Redskins and Chiefs both finished the season 4-12. The Redskins even picked one spot ahead of the Chiefs in the draft (fourth to Kansas City's fifth). But here they are, 11 games later, and the Redskins are 5-6 and all but out of the NFC playoff picture, while K.C. is 7-4 and in first place in the AFC West.
How'd THAT happen? Why don't we take a closer look and see if we can figure it out?
All it took was a knee injury here and a quadriceps injury there, and suddenly the Broncos' secondary has gone from the most experienced position group on the roster to perhaps the most youthful.
With veterans Brian Dawkins, 37, and Andre Goodman, 32, sidelined with injuries, the Broncos will be forced to activate five players who are 24 years old or younger in Sunday's game at Kansas City, including four rookies.
Young talent gets its chance in Broncos secondary from The Denver Post
When the Broncos matched Champ Bailey against the Colts' Reggie Wayne this season, Wayne finished with just four catches and no touchdowns.
When they matched him up on the Ravens' Anquan Boldin, he finished with a season-low one catch for only 8 yards.
So, with two starters out in the secondary for Sunday's game in Kansas City and a host of rookies waiting to play, the Broncos have to decide how often to match Bailey up on the Chiefs' Dwayne Bowe, who is having a breakout season.
Analysis: Broncos' Bailey should see plenty of Bowe on Sunday from The Denver Post
It's been almost four months since Elvis Dumervil suffered a season-ending chest injury in a training camp practice, but Broncos defensive coordinator Don Martindale is quick to remind everyone that he said there would be days like these in the Broncos' pass rush.
"There's no question we have to be more creative," Martindale said. "Would I like Elvis out there? Sure, I'd be sitting here lying to everybody's face if I said that we don't miss Elvis Dumervil. We all do. It's a different challenge, but it's a challenge we've got to be able to meet."
Martindale seeking ways to pressure QB from The Denver Post
I'm in a Kansas City state of mind this week as the Chiefs prepare to host the Broncos in a divisional battle that offers plenty of extra zest. You might recall that Chiefs head coach Todd Haley refused a postgame handshake from Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels following the Broncos' 49-29 win three weeks ago. Haley later apologized (though not directly to McDaniels). But there's little doubt the Chiefs are itching for payback against a Broncos team that has since hit the skids, giving up 71 points in its last two games.
Personally, I suspect that Haley was less upset about the Broncos continuing to throw the ball with a big fourth-quarter lead than he was about a timeout that the Broncos called with 10 seconds left in the game. No matter. The bottom line is that payback would be as sweet as any barbecue sauce in the K.C. metropolitan area.
Fitz's Four-Course Fantasy Feast from Pro Football Weekly
Kansas City had a pass rush of four or fewer players on 63 percent of Orton's dropbacks in Week 10. Orton threw four touchdown passes in those situations.
When Kansas City blitzed five or more rushers, Orton completed 33 percent of his passes. His passer rating against a standard rush was 155.1. It was 47.2 against a blitz. I wonder what the Chiefs should do Sunday?
Key QB-defense rematches in Week 13 from ESPN
For Norland (11-1) to get closer to achieving it, it will need to beat Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy (10-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Region 4-3A final at North Miami Stadium.
The Vikings haven't been this far in the playoffs since they won their lone state championship in 2002 -- a team that included Barnes, an FIU graduate, and Kansas City Chiefs star receiver Dwayne Bowe.
Norland's return to prominence brings back past stars from The Miami Herald