Despite Recent Success, Cairo Santos Always Looking to Improve from The Mothership
10 years ago,
Cairo Santoshad never kicked a football in his life.
He was a 15-year-old foreign exchange student living with a host family in Florida. He didn't speak much English and didn't know anything about American football coming from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Fast forward almost a decade and things are a little different for him now.
He's not only learned about American football, but he's also thriving at it.
Meet Kaleia Hayes, this Sunday's Pink Seat Honoree from The Mothership
Q: So you're continuing to undergo treatment?
A: "Yes, absolutely. I'm on a chemo pill. I'm also taking another treatment option and then I also get two injections once a month because the type of cancer that I have is an aggressive cancer that's estrogen-driven. They're cutting down on all of my estrogen and just making sure my comfort level is right because what has happened is my tumor has caused my back to break. I have a fracture in my back that the tumor caused. It's been kind of a rough road. I'm 35 years old, I've had chemo, radiation, injections, pills, infusions."
Q: How do you remain so positive?
A: "That's how I get through every day. I'm just positive and upbeat because I have this disease eating away inside of me, but I don't have to wear it on my face and I don't have to walk around like I'm going to die tomorrow because my cancer is a Stage 4. It has spread to other parts of my body, so I think the best thing for my kids and I is to have as much normalcy as possible and be positive because at the end of the day, God has a plan and I trust with his plan, so whatever is for me is going to be for me. That's why you can hear the excitement in my voice."
The Chiefs officially ruled starting inside linebacker Josh Mauga (groin, Achilles) out for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.
Mauga, who suffered the injury in Week 4, missed a third straight day of practice Friday.
Rookie inside linebacker Ramik Wilson is the top candidate to replace Mauga in Week 5 and would make his first NFL start. Wilson totaled eight tackles in relief of Mauga in Week 4.
The Bears have 16 players listed. Only one, tackle Jermon Bushrod, is listed as out and one, safety Antrel Rolle, is listed as doubtful.
But Chicago has 13 players listed as questionable. Among that group are their top two quarterbacks, Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.
Chiefs kicker Santos has franchise field goal mark in pocket from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
It's easy to tell when Santos is in the groove. The 5-foot-8 kicker swings his right leg through like a perfect pendulum, and the ball soars end over end through the uprights. It never gets off line, instead cutting through the breeze with nary a wobble.
"When I talk about him hitting the ball solid, that's what I'm talking about," Toub said. "If he hits it outside in, if it comes off at an angle, the wind will make it go even further. It's like hitting a golf ball, same thing. So if you hit it smooth and straight and square, it will cut through the wind a lot better. That's where he's at right now."
Santos is the only young kicker to get a vote. Having joined the Chiefs as a rookie last season, he hasn't kicked long enough or in enough big games to get much notice.
The timing of this poll no doubt helped him. It happened just days after he kicked seven field goals in the Chiefs' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. That earned him a vote from Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Cairo Santos came off that seven-field goal game,'' Boswell told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "He's very accurate and has a very strong leg."
Santos might become more prominent in these polls as the years roll by.
Key to the game: Bears @ Chiefs from Chiefs Digest
The checklist of improvements needed from the Chiefs offense is a long one if they expect to beat a mediocre Chicago team at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
Topping that list is pass protection, which has been the worst in the NFL over the first quarter of the 2015 season, allowing 19 sacks in 170 passing plays. The league average is 8.7 sacks allowed.
The Bears pass rush is anemic, with only six sacks to rank tied for 24th in the league, so it should be a good week for the Chiefs protection to get well.
BEARS VS. CHIEFS
Kansas City Chiefs: The porous Chiefs pass defense might finally be running into an opponent it can hold up against. The Bears are 29th in passing yardage at just more than 200 yards per game. Jay Cutler and the Bears will make some plays, but not enough to win. Chiefs 27, Bears 24 -- Adam Teicher
Chicago Bears: For all the Chiefs' woes in 2015, they can still rush the passer. That's a problem for the Bears. A rash of injuries up front will force the Bears to start a patchwork offensive line, and keep in mind Cutler is not entirely healthy. Cutler rushed back from a strained hamstring last week and played well against Oakland, but the quarterback's mobility is an issue. The calling card of any John Fox team is to play hard. Expect the Bears to compete. However, the Chiefs have more talent. The pressure is on Andy Reid to win at home. Chiefs 27 Bears 26 -- Jeff Dickerson
The NFL Quarter-Season Awards from Grantland
CHIEFS (-9) over Bears
Mind Control Award: Alex Smith
No, Alex Smith isn't controlling our minds into checking down to day-old bread because it's better than going hungry. We're the ones mind-controlled into thinking that Alex Smith is a hindrance, that he's going to prevent the Chiefs from ever seriously contending for a Super Bowl. I don't think the evidence is there. It's worth remembering that the 49ers very nearly made the Super Bowl in 2011 with Smith at the helm, losing in the NFC Championship Game to the Giants almost exclusively because Kyle Williams mishandled two punts.
Smith was admittedly bad in that game, but he was fantastic against the Saints in the previous round, throwing for 299 yards and three scores while winning a shootout against Drew Brees. And in the one playoff game he's started as a Chiefs quarterback, Smith threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts despite losing his top two running backs and one of his starting wide receivers during the game. We live in a league where Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have won Super Bowls. Alex Smith isn't going to drag the Chiefs into January, but he's not holding them back, either. (That might be you, 30th-ranked defense.)
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The Chiefs botched several chances in losing at home to Denver two weeks ago. If Kansas City takes care of the ball, the Bears put up enough fight to take the game to the fourth quarter - at which point it's up to QB Jay Cutler to deliver.
*Our pick: Chiefs 24-20.
Chiefs, Bears aim to right seasons at Arrowhead Stadium from The Associated Press via The San Diego Union-Tribune
The Chicago Bears came away from last week feeling as if they'd turned a corner, an eight-game losing streak finally behind them after a heart-pounding victory over Oakland.
The Kansas City Chiefs felt the opposite, as if their season is slipping away.
The Bears will try to build on their modest momentum when they visit Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since 2003 on Sunday. They'll be facing a Chiefs team in desperate need of a win after three straight defeats have relegated them to the AFC West cellar.
NFL Week 5 Predictions: Titans Upset Bills, Bears Keep It Close from The Wall Street Journal
Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET, Sunday
Vegas: Chiefs by 9; M/P Line: Chiefs by 6.3
The Bears are the pick. Kansas City is struggling so badly on both sides of the ball that it's shocking that they are such heavy favorites against any team and especially a Chicago team that actually won last week and that has Jay Cutler in again at quarterback. Massey-Peabody believe that wins are merely descriptive and not predictive but you still expect some tax. Alex Smith doesn't like to throw the ball downfield, making it very tough for the Chiefs to cover a line this big. Couple that with a porous Kansas City secondary that has allowed 11 passing TDs already.
Players to watch versus Chiefs from ChiecagoBears.com
Slauson earned a game ball last Sunday when he switched from left guard to center after
Will Montgomerybroke his fibula on the third play of the game against the Raiders. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase described Slauson's performance as "outstanding" and called his ability to quickly adapt to a position he hadn't played in a game since 2011 "unbelievable" and "phenomenal."
Preparing for the Chiefs, the Bears have yet to announce whether Slauson will return to left guard or start at center with
Patrick Omamehfilling in at left guard like he did after Montgomery was injured against the Raiders. Complicating the situation is an ankle injury to Omameh that forced him to skip practice Wednesday and Thursday.
Meet David Irving. You might not even have known he played against the Saints. He was the guy in the middle of the defensive line. No. 95. Probably someone most everyone dismissed earlier in the week when the Cowboys announced that they had signed some dude off the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad on Sept. 29.
Probably elicited no more than a yawn...
...Well, Irving, he looked like Tarzan and played on 24 snaps against the Saints, 33 percent of the game at defensive tackle - 3-technique and 1-technique - and played as well as anyone else has played inside in the previous three games if we take all this into account:
Fantasy Football Timeout: Week 5 starters and benchwarmers from The Milwuakee Journal Sentiel
TAKING A FLIER
Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs vs. Bears. Only Kansas City has surrendered more TD passes than Chicago. Meanwhile, Smith has built a solid rapport with Jeremy Maclin to go along with his affinity for Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles. If you're hurting at QB, Smith offers real upside this weekend.
Kansas City coach Andy Reid knows exactly what he's up against on Sunday.
The veteran head coach is well-schooled in Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase's scheme from playing in the AFC West. Reid went 0-4 versus division rival Denver from 2013-14 when Gase called plays for Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
"It does [help]," Reid told ESPN 1000's "Carmen and Jurko Show" on Friday.
The difference of course is that Manning stayed in Denver when Gase and John Fox bolted to Chicago in the offseason.
But that hasn't stopped Gase from using the same system with Jay Cutler that he did in Denver.
Like/Dislike: Going gaga for Todd Gurley from NFL.com
Alex Smith has a great matchup against the Bears. But I swear to Great Caesar's Ghost himself; I lose with Smith every time I try to get cute with the matchups.
Seriously, this Chiefs game seems like one where you should cash in on every marquee star in Kansas City. But watch Knile Davis end up with three touchdowns.
Place Your Bets: Week 5 from 5NBCDFW
1. Chicago at Kansas City (-9.0) — This is a big line against a team that won a game last week after the return of Jay Cutler. But the Bears will be without Alshon Jeffrey, and the Chiefs are pretty tough to beat at home.