Good morning! Longest. Post. Ever. At least it feels that way. Start reading your Kansas City Chiefs news right now if you want to finish in time for tomorrow's. Lots of stories as we get ready to kick off the season. Some juicy ones, too. Enjoy!
"Together Is Powerful" is the Chiefs marketing slogan for the 2012 season - the 50th in Kansas City - and it's been adopted internally by the team's players and coaches as well.
Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel wore a "Together Is Powerful" t-shirt to his Friday press conference and had his coaching staff wear matching shirts with the same slogan for the team's final practice before Sunday's regular opener at Arrowhead Stadium.
"I talk to the team all the time about being a team, playing together, helping each other, so this phrase just falls into line with that," Crennel said.
Chiefs Notebook: Together Is Powerful from The Mothership
"We're a pretty confident bunch still," said tight end Kevin Boss, who played for some high-scoring teams in his first five NFL seasons before joining the Chiefs this year. "We started off well the first game but didn't play as well as we wanted the last couple of preseason games. Our confidence is still high. We've still got all our weapons and we've got (Dwayne) Bowe back.
"The sky's the limit, really ... I don't see any reason why we can't be one of the top offenses in the league."
Offense Has To Get Off To Good Start For Chiefs from KC Star
KCChiefs.com Video: From The Podium: Romeo Crennel Press Conference
KCChiefs.com Video: Under The Helmet: Ryan Lilja
KCChiefs.com Video: Red Friday Recap
KC Star Photo Gallery: Tailgating Through The Years At Arrowhead
Pioli won't talk much about this past drama. When asked how he's changed in the last year, or three, he speaks mostly in generalities - especially regarding football - but the signs are everywhere. The most tangible are his hiring of a head coach who's comfortable in his own skin and dogged pursuit of a new vice president of communications who has one of the league's strongest reputations for promoting conversation with fans and media.
This is the convergence of Pioli's recognition of his own weaknesses and failures - "I've made mistakes, lots of them," he says - and conscious effort to improve.
Of all games for the Chiefs not to have inside linebacker Jovan Belcher or nose tackle Anthony Toribio available, Sunday's opener against Atlanta may be as good as any.
The Falcons utilize multireceiver sets as much as any team in the league, with receivers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, plus tight end Tony Gonzalez. That will put the Chiefs in their nickel and dime coverage packages, which Belcher and Toribio do not play.
The Chiefs, Falcons and Oakland Raiders each finished the 2007-08 season 4-12, and a coin flip was used to determine the draft order. Atlanta won the toss and selected Ryan with the third overall choice, and the former Boston College star has blossomed into a Pro Bowl quarterback.
Oakland had the fourth pick and selected running back Darren McFadden, while the Chiefs had to pick fifth. They took defensive tackle Tyson Jackson, who has struggled to get onto the field, even though they were desperate for a quarterback at the time.
Matt Ryan Could Have Been Chiefs QB, Now Faces Them With Falcons from The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Matt Cassel won't be the Chiefs' starting quarterback by midseason
If you believe some of the garbage that has come out of Kansas City the past couple of years, you think that former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was the reason for Cassel's stunning success in 2010, when Tom Brady's ex-backup made the Pro Bowl and helped K.C. to an unlikely AFC West crown. If you know the real story, you regard Weis as a fraud, ex-Chiefs coach Todd Haley as a miracle worker (at least for that one season, which began with Weis reluctant to coach Cassel, causing Haley to step in) and Cassel as a disaster waiting to happen.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs want to avoid what happened in 2011 when they opened the season with three straight losses, including two blowouts in the first two weeks. Beating Atlanta at home is important as the Chiefs hit the road the next two weeks -- at Buffalo and then at New Orleans.
Prediction: Falcons 27, Chiefs 17.
Chiefs Game Preview: Week 1 vs. Falcons from CBS Sports
Looking Ahead: The Chiefs may have the least-talented quarterback, Matt Cassel, of all the teams Atlanta will face throughout the first five weeks (Denver, San Diego, Carolina, Washington). Winning the opener Sunday will be a good way to forget about last season's ugly 24-2 playoff loss to the Giants.
Prediction: Falcons 27-17
Falcons Game Preview: Week 1 vs. Chiefs from CBS Sports
"He has developed well," Samuel said. "When I was in New England he was running the scout team most of the time."
Samuel may talk a lot, but he's film student of the game. He said it's hard to read Cassel, who does a good job of not tipping off where he's throwing his passes.
Falcons vs. Chiefs: The X Factor Is QB Matt Cassel from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Call me a softie, but I'm rallying to Cassel's side. I would love for him to have the season of his career and for every one of those so-called fans who ripped into him at the softball game to - I'm being kind here - re-consider their momentary lapse in judgment.
There are many reasons for Chiefs fans to be excited about this 2012 team and Cassel is one. He shouldn't be viewed as a potential hindrance to where the Chiefs are attempting to go, but as the captain of the ship that is trying to get them there.
There are legitimate concerns about Cassel, but they don't warrant a showering of Bronx cheers.
Cassel Has Chance To Prove Detractors Wrong from The Wichita Eagle
With the opening weekend of the NFL set to kickoff, a couple of local products will be suiting up at tight end for AFC teams. Tony Moeaki enters his third year as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs while Coby Fleener kicks off his NFL career as an Indianapolis Colt.
Both are expected to have an impact on their respective offenses, with NFL.com ranking Fleener as the 17th-best fantasy tight end option for week one and Moeaki 21st.
Tony Moeaki, Coby Fleener Give Local Flavor To Start Of NFL Season from MySuburbanLife.com
On the official injury report, the Chiefs listed cornerback Brandon Flowers (foot), linebacker Derrick Johnson and linebacker Jovan Belcher (groin) as questionable for the game. Flowers and Johnson were limited at practice all week and Belcher was limited Friday after not practicing Thursday. Unless there are setbacks, I'd expect all three players to play.
Three Key Chiefs Are Questionable from ESPN
Falcons running back Jason Snelling (calf) and cornerback Christopher Owens (hamstring) did not suffer any setbacks with increased practice time and were listed as probable for the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Both fully participated in Friday's practice.
Falcons Fantasy Injury Report: Chiefs List Three Players Doubtful from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Scott, how do you feel about your roster now that it's down to 53 players?:
"I'm still encouraged, I really am. I know there's a lot of games. Coming right out of the gate, we've got some really tough competition. ... I do feel that we've got a good football team and a well-coached football team. We've shown, at different times, that we are that. And then, unfortunately, I don't know if it's due to our lack of experience and age, but we've shown signs of not playing up to our ability, so it'll be interesting to see how this team does coming right out of the gate."
Friends Scott Pioli And Thomas Dimitroff See Their Teams Square Off In Week 1 from Sports Radio Interviews
The red craze started early in the morning with planes painting red stripes across the sky above the Power and Light District. Then the red madness hit the streets as the fun shifted to serious as former Chiefs team members teamed up with the University of Kansas Hospital to sell Red Friday magazines for a good cause.
"It's for the Boys and Girls Club of Kansas City. So we're out here trying to grab people as they're coming to work and they're leaving work. Pretty busy place here and got all kinds of folks here. Pretty interested in Chiefs too," University of Kansas Hospital CEO Bob Page said.
Fans Celebrate Red Friday All Over KC Metro from KCTV5
How will the Chiefs run the ball? The Kansas City Chiefs believe they can have one of the best running games in the NFL with Jamaal Charles coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 2 of last season and because of the signing of Peyton Hillis. With Charles' speed and Hillis' punishing approach, the pair will be particularly important Sunday against the Falcons. The Chiefs have injuries on defense and pass-rusher Tamba Hali is serving a one-game NFL suspension -- just what the pass-happy Falcons want to see.
Final Word: AFC West from ESPN
Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez and the rest of the high-powered Atlanta Falcons offense surely must be salivating when they imagine visiting Kansas City on Sunday.
Has nothing to do with the barbecue, either.
The Chiefs could be stumbling into the the season opener against one of the NFL's prolific attacks without four defensive starters and six guys on the depth chart.
Falcons' Offense Primed For Wounded Chiefs Defense from The Associated Press via The Kitsap Sun
Two interesting matchups in Sunday's Chiefs-Falcons game will involve strong safeties against tight ends.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2011 season opener, will be defending future Hall of Famer and Kansas City legend Tony Gonzalez, who will be making his first appearance against his former team.
Falcons-Chiefs Matchups To Watch from KC Star
Coach of the year: Kansas City Chiefs' Romeo Crennel
Wait, didn't this guy flame out in Cleveland after his star burned bright in the halcyon days of New England's early-century dynasty? True. But after taking over last year on an interim basis in Kansas City, the defensive-minded players coach, who was a welcome relief after the intense Todd Haley was shown the door, had the Chiefs a Richard Seymour-blocked field goal away from winning the division. The Chiefs have improved themselves the most in the AFC West and Crennel's feel-good ways should lead the way.
Gutierrez's NFL Predictions: Doesn't Look Good For Raiders from CSN Bay Area
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have said they won't put limits on how much they'll use Jamaal Charles in the opener against Atlanta, and they shouldn't. His rehab from last year's torn ACL and the resulting surgery has gone about as well as Charles and the Chiefs could have hoped. If the Chiefs need Charles, say, 30 times in order to beat the Falcons, they need to feed him the ball.
NFL Week 1: Analysis On All 32 Teams from SportingNews
If I could bottle attitude, it'd be Dexter McCluster's.
"Honestly, coming in I knew I never know what to expect with my role," McCluster said. "It's been off and on from my rookie season till now. They came to me and said we'd like to try you at the slot and get better there and focus on building from there. So I took that as a challenge to go out and create mismatches and to get open in space and I think right now I'm really grasping it and they are really putting a lot of confidence in me."
McCluster is having fun.
McCluster Could Give Chiefs Dangerous, Unexpected Weapon from The Examiner
For the Falcons to take the next step and become a formidable playoff threat, they need more consistency on both sides of the ball. Look for big plays on offense from second-year receiver Julio Jones, but getting the defense in gear is most critical.
Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez returns to where he became a star.
Kansas City will provide a solid exam for that D, particularly with RB Jamaal Charles, WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki seemingly healthy. But the Chiefs will miss suspended LB Tamba Hali this week.
Are You Ready For Some NFL 2012? from The San Francisco Chronicle
When the House + Home staff decided to have a "Man Cave Madness" contest coinciding with football season, we knew we'd see some of those characteristics as well as all-out fandom for Chiefs, Jayhawks, Tigers and Wildcats. Even the (wo)man cave with K-State purple passion on full display didn't come as a total shock to us.
But what we weren't expecting were how ceilings, walls and floors - mere rooms - could show such passion and personality. We were so utterly charmed by the attention and care to detail that this became our contest criteria:
Does the cave truly reflect the man?
Man Cave Madness: It's All About The Fun from KC Star
Nov. 12 (Monday), vs. Kansas City: The Steelers are money on "Monday Night Football," and new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be itching for revenge against the Chiefs team that dumped him earlier this year. Haley would love to have his field general actually on the field.
From a football perspective, the Steelers have Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich as backups, which ... come on, Steelers fans, it's not THAT bad. You'll survive. Probably.
Big Ben, Little Ben: Roethlisberger Would Miss Game For Son's Birth from Yahoo! Sports
Barring a tie against Kansas City, the Falcons will make history Sunday. Atlanta enters the game with the Chiefs with an all-time 299-399-6 record. If the Falcons win, they'll be the 24th team to reach 300 wins. If they lose, they'll be the 15th team with 400 losses.
Final Word: NFC South from ESPN