Good morning Chiefs fans! Lots of reading/viewing for you today. What's the biggest item? It might be that Coach Todd Haley said the Chiefs are a good team. Here's your Kansas City Chiefs news.
Jamaal Charles wants to be great. He’ll tell you this, freely, even without being asked, and he means this literally. Great. Not average, not good, not really good. Great.
This is all entirely subjective, of course, but it’s also completely true: Charles is great, right now, and through his first season and a half as a featured running back, is turning the conversation historical.
Mellinger: Jamaal Charles is just getting warmed up from KC Star
The Chiefs have worked this season at establishing themselves not as a group of superstars but as men who will work their hands until calluses form, and once they do, they’ll keep on going. This team has no GQ cover boy or billboard idol; instead, these are guys with union cards and tough-sounding names like Tim Castille, Thomas Jones and Mike Vrabel.
In another life, any of them could be the best jackhammer man in three counties; instead, they help make up the unshaven, chisel-jawed face of the AFC West champions.
Blue-collar effort defines the Chiefs from KC Star
NFL.com Video: X-Factors: Ravens vs. Chiefs
NFL.com Video: Green's Take: Ravens vs. Chiefs
NFL.com Video: Wild Card Playbook: Ravens-Chiefs preview
NFL.com Video: Week 18: Ravens vs. Chiefs Preview
NFL.com Video: Flowers ready for Ravens
NFL.com Video: Playbook: Ravens vs. Chiefs preview
NFL.com Video: Ravens defense vs. Chiefs run game
NFL.com Video: No Huddle: Ravens vs. Chiefs
The entire football-watching world knows about the Baltimore defense that will play against the Chiefs on Sunday in a first-round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. The Ravens are big and physical, tough against the run and feature four Pro Bowlers, including fiery linebacker Ray Lewis.
The defensive Chiefs are still a mystery, even in their own locker room. Several defensive players, asked the identity of their unit, had different answers.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe’s chances of playing in Sunday’s playoff game against Baltimore at Arrowhead Stadium appeared to rise dramatically Thursday when he was a full participant at practice.
Guard Brian Waters did not practice for the second straight day but was at the Chiefs practice facility for at least part of the day.
Bowe back at practice, Waters still ill from KC Star
It took almost a full season, but Todd Haley now believes he’s the coach of a good team.
Haley said Thursday that — after months of downplaying his team — he told players two weeks ago that the Chiefs were no longer a young, transitioning team. It was something more. It was good.
Chiefs buzz: Haley says Chiefs are a good team from KC Star
What was it like when you won the division this year?
"It felt good, just to be able to get that off our back. Winning with the guys in this locker room, man…we’ve come a long way."
Chiefs Q&A | Tight end Leonard Pope from KC Star
A new phenomenon is sweeping Baltimore right now. The Joe Flacco Beard.
The Ravens’ third-year quarterback is sporting a dark beard for the playoffs and says he’ll keep it until the Super Bowl, if the Ravens advance that far...
...Naturally, fans around Baltimore are growing their own playoff beards or walking around town with fake beards, much like Kansas State basketball fans imitate Jacob Pullen’s facial hair.
Astute Flacco is now hirsute, too from KC Star
CBS' analyst Phil Simms, who will be callilng Sunday's playoff game, weighed in on the Chiefs and Ravens today. Here are some of his comments:
On the Chiefs: "Nobody in the country knows about Jamaal Charles and what he has done for the Kansas City Chiefs this year. He is averaging over six yards-per-carry. And in this day and age in the NFL, that is ridiculous. You think no one could ever do that. He has, and gained very little attention across the country.
CBS' Simms: What Charles has done "is ridiculous" from The Red Zone
We've never had a guest post on this blog, but we've never had an e-mail like this one, either. This is from Rachel, who has exactly the kind of story I love, the kind that highlights the bigger meaning that sports and local teams have to all of us.
So, here's Rachel:
The Chiefs aren't just a playoff team, they're also Cupid from Don't Kill the Mellinger
That seems like a reasonable assumption to me. You play a tougher schedule, you get tougher as a team. But, I decided to look at that subject myself. I took the worst team based upon SOS each season going back to 1998... that made the playoffs. I then looked to see what they did in their first game of the playoffs. I halfway expected them to all lose based upon the article referenced above. But, that wasn't the case. Their first game record is 6-6 and their overall record is 8-11, but it also includes a Super Bowl champion.
How easy was the Chiefs schedule - really? from Upon Further Review
Opponents are completing just 39 percent of their passes against Kansas City when it blitzes its defensive backs. Opponents also are averaging five yards an attempt against the Chiefs and their passer rating against the Chiefs is 48. 2. The Chiefs lead the NFL in both areas.
Flacco will also have to deal with a tough sideline pass defense. The Chiefs are second in the NFL with a 46 percent competition percentage on sideline passes and they are first in the NFL, allowing 5.3 yards an attempt on sideline passes. This may be a way for the Chiefs to affect Flacco. He was ranked 20th in the NFL against sideline passes.
Chiefs vs. Ravens: By the numbers from ESPN
Days before their biggest game in four years, the Kansas City Chiefs are going back to the basics ... way back.
Calling it "Kindergarten rules," the team is trying to avoid a flu outbreak by having its players take extra steps to avoid getting sick -- right down to the basics of washing their hands with warm water and soap.
Whatever it takes.
Chicken noodle soup, anyone? from ESPN
Ravens cornerback Chris Carr said limiting Bowe will be one of the defense's priorities.
"He catches the ball like he's a big target and he's going to go up there and he's going to catch it," Carr said. "I always say that's half of the game right there. If you have a good quarterback like Cassel or a [Tom] Brady [of the New England Patriots], they're going to get you the ball even though you're covered...
Chiefs' Bowe presents unique challenge from The Baltimore Sun
Witness: the schizophrenic nature of the sports fan. With the Chiefs in the playoffs for the first time since the 2006 season, I should be thrilled. And, as recently as Sunday morning, I was. One friend-in response to an e-mail of mine explaining why his team, the Jets, should fear playing the Chiefs-noted my "giddiness." Then, Sunday afternoon happened. The Chiefs lost-to the Raiders, again-in horridly droopy fashion, downgrading themselves from third to fourth in the playoff standings. All of Chiefdom was suddenly in a fit, searching for answers to a question that, just a week ago, was near no one's mind: "So, are we kind of bad?"
CHIEFS: THE AGONY OF SUCCESS from The New Yorker
The Ravens appear to be taking small steps towards getting healthier for Sunday's AFC Wildcard game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Free safety Ed Reed and center Matt Birk returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's session.
Ravens on the mend from The Baltimore Sun
Kansas City Chiefs players are often involved with various charities all over the city. But linebacker Andy Studebaker is taking his good deeds all over the world.
During his days at Wheaton College, Studebaker and fellow football players used their spring breaks to volunteer in places like South Africa and Romania. It's a tradition that he has continued in the pros, traveling with the Wheaton College football alumni as a missionary.
Chiefs Linebacker Taking Good Works World-Wide from FOX4KC
His offseason started last winter with a hint of retirement. By summer, he was diplomatically campaigning on radio for a pay raise. In the spring, he underwent invasive hip surgery.
Staying ahead of Ed Reed is a difficult proposition at any time, but over the past year, it's been impossible to predict what the Ravens' Pro Bowl safety would do next. Or in Sunday's AFC wild-card game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
What makes Ed Reed so successful? from The Baltimore Sun
Look at the Chiefs. They've got some talented and explosive players such as receivers Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers, running back Jamaal Charles and rookie strong safety Eric Berry. They've got outside linebacker Tamba Hali, but nobody who is going to intimidate you.
There is no one to fear.
They've got guard Brian Waters and outside linebacker Mike Vrabel. Big deal. No one is losing any sleep over those guys at The Castle.
Ravens' talent, experience too much for Chiefs to overcome from The Baltimore Sun
The Ravens have the second-worst success rate on replay challenges, only a season after they had been among the best.
This season, only one of coach John Harbaugh's nine challenges has been reversed. That one successful challenge came on a pass that was initially ruled incomplete to Derrick Mason at New England (Oct. 17).
Ravens beat: Ravens struggle with replay challenges from The Baltimore Sun
Boldin, who said Haley has a knack for maximizing his players' talents, acknowledged that Haley can also get under his players' skin.
"When you first come in contact with him, especially as a player, you think he's a jerk," Boldin said. "I know a lot of guys in Arizona didn't like him at first. But I think they seemed to realize that he was just trying to get the best out of them, and I'm sure they went through the same thing in Kansas City."
Boldin, Haley are beyond 2008 sideline scuffle from The Baltimore Sun
But something tells me the Chiefs are ready. People like to point out that Flacco has won three playoff games in the last two years, but the ugly truth is that he's one of the worst QBs in playoff history. His QB rating in the playoffs is 46.5, with 1 TD in 5 games to go with 6 INTs. He has completed exactly three passes longer than 20 yards in 5 playoff games. He's incredibly predictable on 3rd down this year, and the Chiefs have a secondary/pass rush combo that can make his life difficult. Most fans would say, "that's fine, they'll pound the ball". That is a gross misconception. The Ravens ranked 28th in yards per carry and 31st in yards per carry on 1st down (only Cincinnati was worse). If the Ravens are going to win, it will be Joe Flacco that wins the game for them. I think hecando it, but I'll believe it when I see it and not one second beforehand. I like the Chiefs to pull the stunner, 20-17.
Football Meteorology, Wild Card Weekend from Real GM Football
If you do not believe that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league, just glance at the quality at the position that we will be fortunate enough to see in the upcoming weeks.
But, of course, the quarterbacks cannot do it alone. Below I have ranked each position group from 1 to 12 for all the playoff-eligible teams. Trust me, it is a brutal exercise.
Scouts: Ranking the playoff offenses from ESPN
Kansas City is a 3-point dog to Baltimore even though the Chiefs are playing at home. The Ravens have tons more playoff experience, but that's because they are tons of years older.
And that age is starting to show. Baltimore, with nine blown fourth-quarter leads this season, led the league in gasping for oxygen late in games. The Ravens also have a dozen names on their injury report this week, and they finished weakly while surviving Cleveland and Cincinnati in their final two games.
Halftime: NFL's playoff underdogs all have a shot from USA Today
The 2011 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame class was filled with the traditional Pac-10 Big Ten flavor. For USC's Brad Budde representing the Pac-10, while former Purdue All-American Leroy Keyes and Iowa coach Hayden Fry did the Big Ten proud.
Budde grew up in Kansas City always watching the Rose Bowl on TV. His father Ed spent almost two decades with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ed and Brad became the first and only father and son in NFL history to be drafted in the first round, to the same team and play the same position.
Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Honors Inductees from blackvoicenews.com
Their credentials, unlike the old standby, talent-laden Bill Belichick's, Mike Tomlin's, Andy Reid's and Mike Smith's of the world, or whoever among their lot ends up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy next month - are that Morris and Haley have somehow, out of nowhere, turned around two of the most moribund franchises of 2009, the Buccaneers and Chiefs.
Is ‘Rah’ the NFL Coach of the Year? from The Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Dear Joe Flacco,
I hope you know what you and your Baltimore Ravens are getting yourselves into.
I'm not going to take the time to find the winning percentage of quarterbacks in their first time at Arrowhead Stadium, because I know it's very low.
Growing up, going to Chiefs games, I remember walking through the parking lot past a party bus that had a coffin with all the first time quarterbacks who left Arrowhead Stadium with a loss.
Knowing that you've won three road playoff game, I fully expect you, Joe Flacco, to lose this Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are now behind us, but I have one more feast to attend. I cannot wait to watch the Chiefs feast on your inaugural trip to Kansas City.
Ryan's Rants from MarshfieldMail.com
Chiefs fans have waited a long time for Sunday to come, and you can bet the crowd at one of what's notoriously one of the NFL's most difficult stops for opponents will have an impact. The Ravens have been down this road before, however, and their success in visiting venues during the playoffs over the past two years has to be taken into consideration when breaking down this game. Baltimore may have a talent advantage on the still-developing Chiefs to go along with its clear edge in experience, and a defense that was top-notch down the stretch of the regular season stands at least a reasonable chance of neutralizing Kansas City's prolific ground attack, an essential element to the Ravens' chances of victory. The Chiefs likely won't make it easy, but Baltimore has both the personnel and pedigree to come out on top of what should be a hard-hitting and close contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ravens 20, Chiefs 17
NFL Playoff Preview - Baltimore (12-4) at Kansas City (10-6) from The Olympian
The Chiefs are known for a league-leading running attack, led by Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, that averaged 164.2 yards per game, and a defense that's racked up 38 sacks.
THE BIG REVEAL: For all the talk of a renaissance in Kansas City, Chris Hope, a safety on the Tennessee Titans, said he thinks the team's most effective weapon is a veteran offensive line that has 41 years of collective NFL experience.
That, Mr. Hope, says, could be the antidote to the team's biggest weakness: the rest of the roster consists of young, inexperienced players. Mr. Hope says younger players tend to panic when they face adversity in the playoffs.
How to Beat the AFC's Playoff Teams from The Wall Street Journal