Good morning and happy Friday! Ever heard of Brandon Flowers? No, not the singer, the football player. Yeah, you can read about that, Baldwin, McCluster and the team's plans for military appreciation in advance of Veteran's Day in today's Kansas City Chiefs news. Enjoy.
The Chiefs defense has forced 13 turnovers over the past five games, including 10 takeaways during two pivotal division games at Oakland and vs. San Diego.
Just as the 10 combined giveaways in Weeks One and Two buried the Chiefs, the 10 takeaways in Weeks Seven and Eight have resurrected Kansas City's hopes to repeat as division champions.
Arrowhead Report: Turnover One-Eighty from The Mothership
"I know for a fact that I don't have a fumbling problem," McCluster said Thursday. "It's just something that happens. Really, the coaches, they know I don't. It's just a matter of holding onto the ball the last 6 inches, last 3 inches to the ground. It's just the little details, and that is a little detail."
But it has big consequences, and Chiefs coach Todd Haley has said that the one thing players cannot do is commit turnovers. For now, the team hasn't lost faith in McCluster, particularly after he rebounded late in Monday's overtime win against San Diego.
McCluster Won't Let Fumbles Slow Him from KC Star
NFL.com Video: Week 9: Dolphins vs. Chiefs Preview
NFL.com Video: Playbook: Dolphins vs. Chiefs
NFL.com Video: Chiefs of the AFC West
Q: You talked about it a little after the game. How does the offense change when you have WR
Jonathan Baldwin to throw to?
CASSEL: "I think the thing that you notice about Jonathan Baldwin is he's so big. He's a big target and he's a guy that can throw it up and go up and get it in different areas and he's an exciting player. But at the same time, he's a guy that's still learning this offense and he's still getting acclimated. This was only his second NFL game and his first game was probably a little bit of shellshock, not being out here in practice for us. It was exciting to see him out there making plays and I'm that he'll just continue to work harder now."
Q&A with Matt Cassel 11/2 from The Mothership
Q: In your experience, is it harder to get your team's attention based on the opponents' record? Have you seen that over the years whether you are facing a team that is 5-2 or 0-7?
HALEY: "Is it harder to get our team's attention?"
Q: To get your team's attention, to feel like they are preparing the way they should.
HALEY: "I don't completely understand the question. I think that's our job as coaches to have our team's attention and to have us prepared to play and get a little better every week, so that's what we are trying to do."
Q&A with Todd Haley from The Mothership
The Chiefs held their first practice Thursday since Monday night's overtime win over the Chargers. The players returned to work the day before after having Tuesday off, but the only on-field work Wednesday was a walkthrough.
Chiefs Buzz: Players Get Back To Practice from KC Star
Flowers attracted few recruiters and didn't have the test scores to immediately play at a major program. But after a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., he got an offer from Virginia Tech he is happy he accepted.
"Atlantic has excellent coaches, and Virginia Tech has excellent coaches," Flowers said. "To go from a program like Atlantic to another great program has definitely helped me develop a skill set higher than other guys around the country."
The former wide receivers coach actually prefers a ground-based offense, as evidenced by the way Kansas City led the league in rushing last season. But when All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles went down with a season-ending injury, it forced Haley to change his mentality ever so subtly.
With the emergence of rookie wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin over the past two weeks, those subtle changes have become much more pronounced.
With Rookie WR Baldwin In Mix, Ground-Based Chiefs Finally Starting To Air It Out from The Washington Post
It looked as if they'd have a hard time winning one game, much less five - much less five in a row. Yet the Chiefs' fullback sensed something in the second half of their game against San Diego, when they nearly rallied for a victory. There was a newfound sense of confidence, like maybe the defending AFC West champions weren't ready to go quietly into the night.
So he punched the message into his twitter account (LeRon-McClain44): "We will overcome this ... 5-3 at the end of (the second) quarter of the season."
Chiefs Try To Make McClain Prophetic With 5th Win from The Joplin Globe
Though their overall records may indicate otherwise, these teams aren't that far apart in terms of overall talent. The difference is the Chiefs have continually found ways to win during their resurgence, while the Dolphins come up with new and inventive ways to lose week in and week out. Turnovers and missed opportunities have crippled Miami all throughout this season, and that could be the case once again in a matchup with a Kansas City outfit that's been fundamentally sound lately and almost always plays well at home. As long as the Chiefs remain focused and stick to the task at hand, their outstanding run should continue.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Chiefs 23, Dolphins 13
NFL Preview - Miami (0-7) at Kansas City (4-3) from KC Star
Remember the scene in Office Space when a bitter employee, Michael Bolton, explains how his name was perfectly fine until "that no-talent assclown became famous and started winning Grammys?"
Well, Flowers isn't suggesting The Killers (a Grammy-nominated band led by, you guessed it, Brandon Flowers) is a talentless band with a clown for a front man -- but the issue is the same. And it's all in the name.
"I'm in the shadow of Brandon Flowers of The Killers right now!" the Chiefs' version laughed Thursday during our phone conversation. "Every time I go onto Google to look for any action pictures of me, Brandon Flowers of The Killers pops up."
Those concerned that the Miami Dolphins' troublesome offensive line might play Sunday's game against Kansas City without starting center Mike Pouncey can calm down.
Pouncey, a former University of Florida standout the Dolphins selected with the 15th pick, returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's session because of the neck injury he suffered against the Giants.
Dolphins C Mike Pouncey Returns To Practice from The Sun Sentinel
Nothing about the Chiefs' underlying performance screams winning record. They're 25th in points scored and points allowed, and as you might suspect, their point differential isn't too hot. A team that's been outscored by 42 points in seven games, like the Chiefs, would normally have something like 2.4 wins. The Chiefs are 4-3 because they've gone 3-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less.
Prediction: They'll beat the Dolphins and Broncos these next two weeks, get to 6-3, and we'll get a lot of angry e-mail from Chiefs fans for being sour on their team's chances. Then they play the Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Jets, Packers, and Raiders in a row. We predict the e-mail will quiet down after that stretch.
NFL Midseason Report: The AFC from Grantland
Kansas City Chiefs -- The Chiefs will host their annual military appreciation game on November 6. Armed Forces representatives, designated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, will participate in the pre-game first pass and coin toss. In addition, uniformed members of the Kansas National Guard, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines will hold a large American Flag on the field during the National Anthem. The Colors will be presented by the Kansas Army National Guard and United States Air Force Technical Staff Sergeant Jennifer Sherman will perform the Anthem. Two T-38 jets from Whiteman Air Force Base will be part of a flyover. On November 8, General Manager Scott Pioli and the Chiefs defensive backs, as well as VFW representatives, will visit Whiteman AFB.