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Arrowheadlines: Kansas City Chiefs News 12/18

You may want to listen to this while you read the next part... It is a period of playoff uncertainty. The Kansas City Chiefs, striking 1-5, have won their seventh victory against their evil opponents. During the season, Andy Reid managed to keep his team on course, sights set on the ultimate goal, the SUPER BOWL, despite a roster suffering injuries with enough frequency to destroy an entire season. Pursued by the AFC's sinister agents (Steelers/Jets), The Kansas City Chiefs race forward, to honor their fans and restore the Lamar Hunt Trophy (and more) to Arrowhead.... Here is today's Kansas City Chiefs news.

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Here's What We Learned From Thursday's Media Availability from The Mothership

Q: You've mentioned that you're asking Alex Smith to do more, has that flexibility made him a better quarterback?
PEDERSON: "The ‘do more' isn't necessarily with the football, it's more using his mind because he's a sharp guy. And getting in and out of plays, giving him a couple - two or three - options and allowing his brain to really focus in on what's happening on each play and putting us in the proper play, where defenses nowadays - you like to say they're junk ball-type pitchers - they're going to throw everything at you, fastball, curveball, slider, changeup, they're going to hit you with everything. And to be able to take advantage of that, you have to have a sharp quarterback and that's what Alex is and that's what he provides us and allows us to do more that way with him using his brain and then his talent."

Q: Would you say that this group of guys on offense ‘gets it' and understands what other people need to do in addition to their responsibilities?
PEDERSON: "Yeah, and again, a lot of these guys are in their third year with us now. And he's one of those guys - the more repetition you get over time, you put more of that on tape where you can watch yourself and critique yourself and learn from that, good and bad. It just makes you a better football team. And then, it collectively makes you better on offense. I think that's what's happening now, the guys, the continuity's there. We still need to get better, but things are beginning to click offensively throughout the game."

Head Athletic Trainer Rick Burkholder Provides Update on Justin Houston from The Mothership

"We thought that it was a good time to send him down to see Dr. Andrews. He'll be back up here in a couple days and we'll continue his rehab process. I don't want anybody to be alarmed that he went to Dr. Andrews. We knew it, we supported it, we backed it, he's good with it. I've talked to both him and the crew down there and we're all headed forward with this thing and hope to get him back on the field real soon."

Dave Toub on Cairo Santos: "He's a competitor now" from The Mothership

To date, Santos has kicked off 73 times, and he already has 39 touchbacks in that span. He had 26 all of last season on 79 kicks. That has equated to a more-than-20 percent increase in touchbacks.

"I'm pleased with the results now, especially in December," he said. "It can get pretty cold here and at away games, so any time that you can dial in a touchback, it's an impressive thing to do here in this month."

That success and the attitude that has naturally come with it have impressed the coaching staff.

"He's a competitor now," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said of Santos' biggest difference from year one to year two. "He competes against himself. He gets mad when he doesn't get a touchback. Those are all good things. "

Chiefs Opponent Preview: Get to Know the Baltimore Ravens from The Mothership

The Ravens have 18 players currently listed on Injured Reserve, including their starting quarterback (Joe Flacco), starting running back (Justin Forsett) and their best wide receiver (Steve Smith).

"I guess it's a record, from what it sounds like," Harbaugh told the local Chiefs media this week. "I don't really have an answer for it or a reason for it. We're looking at a lot of other things that we're trying to deal with, but I'm sure it's something that they're going to look at in the offseason and try to figure out."

The Ravens have lost their last two games in a row, first to the Miami Dolphins (15-3 L) and then to the Seattle Seahawks (35-6 L).

Charcandrick West Continues to Learn From Jamaal Charles from The Mothership

Charles has developed into one of West's most valuable mentors, who along with his positional coach, Eric Bieniemy, among many others, has helped put him in a position to not only find success, but to be able to handle success.

The willingness for Charles to take West under his wing became fundamental in helping West cope with a significant loss just days before training camp began.

Only weeks after Charles had opened his home to West back at OTAs, West lost his longtime mentor and family friend, Dante Coleman.

In a fantastic article for the Kansas City Star, Terez Paylor shared the story of West and Coleman and the impact he had on West's life.

Chiefs Players Spent Their Day Off with Area Youth Charities from The Mothership

The Chiefs Community Caring Team had a very busy day on Tuesday.

The first stop was the Children's Center Campus, where the Chiefs Rookie Club, Chiefs Cheerleaders and K.C. Wolf arrived for their annual holiday outreach visit. The day was spent visiting with the children, decorating Christmas cookies, assisting with a Christmas craft and helping lead Play 60 stations.

"Being able to interact with the kids takes us off of our normal busy schedule and their minds off of what they have going on in their world," said Chris Conley, rookie wide receiver. "We just have this moment of complete and total fun and it's special. It's awesome that the Chiefs organization allows us to be a part of something special like this."

Chiefs players among legion of fans to embrace ‘Star Wars' fever from Chiefs Digest

Rookie wide receiver Chris Conley is arguably the biggest fan in the locker room.

An aspiring film maker, Conley wrote and directed a 26-minute short film, "Star Wars: Retribution," which made its debut in July 2014.

Conley points out a large part of the appeal with "Star Wars" surrounds the devoted fan base, which isn't exclusive to a certain demographic, and the storyline.

"It encompasses so many things," Conley said. "It's a timeless story that no matter what age you are, there's a part you can connect with and that will stay with you.

"There are enough people that have somehow bonded with this story that it's something people have in common these days. You meet people out in public in random places that have the same passion for this story as you do."

Chiefs get back to the basics on special teams from The Kansas City Star

James Winchester finished his career as Oklahoma's long snapper after the 2011 season with NFL ambition. He signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent and didn't stick. But Winchester wasn't deterred.

Working in the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma, Winchester stayed in shape working out at OU and at high schools around the state. Finally, opportunity presented itself and he won the job with the Chiefs out of training camp.

The underdog story was playing well until recently. In the last two games, kicker Cairo Santos missed a field-goal attempt, didn't get off another attempt and pushed wide an extra-point attempt.

There's blame to parcel out, but Winchester starts and stops with himself.

Shame on Chiefs if they waste this collection of defensive players from ESPN

The end is coming for Hali and Johnson in Kansas City. The Chiefs restructured Hali's contract in the offseason, in effect making this season its final year. Johnson is in the final year of his contract. In any case, Johnson turns 34 next year, Hali 33.

Berry's contract is also up at the end of the season, making Houston the only one of the bunch certain to play for the Chiefs past this season.

Maybe the Chiefs will re-sign Berry, Hali and Johnson, though at this point that looks doubtful. In any case, the Chiefs will replenish their defense. Rookie Marcus Peters is looking like a tremendous draft pick. Linebacker Dee Ford had three sacks and broke up a pass in the end zone on the final play of last week's seven-point win over the Chargers.

But the only moment the Chiefs have guaranteed is now.

Chiefs sign OL Jah Reid to 3-year contract extension from Chiefs Digest

The Chiefs signed offensive lineman Jah Reid to a three-year extension, a source familiar with the transaction confirmed Thursday afternoon with ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star was the first to report the transaction.

Offensive lineman Jah Reid agrees to three-year extension with Chiefs from The Kansas City Star

The Chiefs signed offensive tackle Jah Reid to a three-year extension on Thursday, a source told The Star.

The Chiefs signed Reid, 27, as a free agent prior to the season opener in early September, after he'd been released by the Baltimore Ravens.

Since then, he's been the primary starter at right tackle for the surging Chiefs, who have won seven straight games and are 8-5 entering their game Sunday at Baltimore against the Ravens, Reid's former team.

Chiefs have more work to do on O-line even after re-signing Jah Reid from ESPN

The Chiefs now have eight linemen under contract for next season: Reid, Eric FisherLaurent Duvernay-TardifBen Grubbs, Jarrod Pughsley, Paul FanaikaMitch Morse and Zach Fulton.

So the Chiefs would have enough veteran bodies to get through a season, if they're all healthy. But there are questions about Grubbs, who went on injured reserve a couple weeks ago with an ailing neck. And Fanaika has been on injured reserve all season.

Chiefs' Justin Houston gets second opinion, confirms hyperextended knee from Chiefs Digest

"As I said before, it's a hyperextended knee," Burkholder said. "He's getting better, now that his swelling is down, his motion's back, we thought it was a good time to see Dr. Andrews and he'll be back up here in a couple of days. We'll continue his rehab process."

Second-year outside linebacker Dee Ford, who has seven tackles and 3 1/2 sacks in Week 14, will likely continue to start in Houston's absence.

Chiefs are eager to see more from Dee Ford this week from ESPN

To say the Kansas City Chiefs are excited about the play of linebacker Dee Ford would be an understatement. Ford, in his second NFL start, was one of their stars in Sunday's 10-3 win over the San Diego Chargers.

The Chiefs thought Ford, their first-round draft pick in 2014, had the potential to play like he did against the Chargers. But they weren't sure because Ford was a backup and unable to steal much playing time from either of the two Pro Bowlers ahead of him on the depth chart, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

Andy Reid's coaching philosophy allows personalities to shine from Chiefs Digest

In his 11 NFL seasons with the 49ers and Chiefs, quarterback Alex Smith has played for a handful of head coaches, five to be exact: Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, Jim Tomsula (1 game), Jim Harbaugh and Andy Reid.

Only one of those coaches told the team that he wanted them to play with emotion, to allow their personality to come forward on the field, to let the world know who they were and what they were about.

That was Andy Reid.

The game plan: Attacking the Ravens from Chiefs Digest

Jimmy Clausen could is expected to get the start with Matt Schaub sustaining a chest injury two weeks ago. Schaub put in a full practice Thursday, but is no sure bet.

Clausen, a sixth-year quarterback, was claimed off waivers by the Ravens on Nov. 24. Clausen spent a season under Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman with the Chicago Bears in 2014. The former Fighting Irish will speed up his mechanics when he sees or feels pressure, and it leads to inaccurate passes that will not be catchable for the receiver.

Ravens Ready For Red-Hot Kansas City Chiefs from BaltimoreRavens.com

The Chiefs are second in the NFL with a plus-12 turnover margin, while the Ravens rank 31st in the league with a minus-12 margin.

Coaches regularly point to winning the turnover battle, and that mantra rings true in looking at the records for the two teams.

"I don't think they ever turn the ball over," Harbaugh said.

Chiefs could ride cushy schedule into improbable postseason from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City

When the Kansas City Chiefs' schedule was first released, the assumption was that if they could only weather the first six weeks, they would have a good shot at returning to the playoffs.

Then they won just one game.

But after the brutal opening stretch against some of the NFL's best teams, the Chiefs (8-5) have a pillow-soft finishing kick. It begins with a trip to four-win Baltimore, where third-string quarterback Jimmy Clausen could be under center Sunday. Then it continues with three-win Cleveland and finishes with six-win Oakland, both of those games in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.

Suddenly, that 1-5 start seems like a distant memory.

Chiefs swap helmets for Santa hats, helping young football players choose gear from FOX4KC

The Kansas City Chiefs traded in helmets for Santa Hats to help the jolly old elf with some of his Christmas duties Thursday night.

Travis Kelce, Charcandrick West and Dontari Poe showed up at Dick's Sporting Goods in Leawood to surprise nearly two-dozen members of the Football and Cheerleadling Club of Johnson County.

FANTASY PLAYS: Defenses worth looking at for playoff push from The Associated Press via The Lexington Herald Leader

You would have been hard-pressed to find many fantasy owners riding the Kansas City Chiefs defense one month into the season. The team had just surrendered a combined 74 points the two previous games on the way to a 1-3 start.

The last month of the season is a different story. The Chiefs have a superb set of matchups during the rest of the fantasy football season and are a must-add for anyone looking for a defensive lift in the playoffs. They get a wobbly Baltimore team this week followed by Cleveland at home after already taking care of the Chargers with a 10-3 win. As a result, they are 88 percent owned in Yahoo leagues and 79 percent on ESPN.

CBS Sports' Rich Gannon: No NFL Team Wants To Play Steelers In Playoffs from CBS Sports

Where has this new Chiefs team come from in the last seven weeks?

Rich Gannon: "It starts with the head coach, Andy Reid. He's been through a lot of fires as head coach and had to work through them in different places. For the Chiefs, it goes into consistency, being better, getting better at their craft, and the players have bought into it all. They've gotten behind Reid's leadership along with the veterans in the locker room, and it helped them never lose confidence.

Second, you have a quarterback that is so good at taking care of the football. He has just one interception in the last six or seven starts, something crazy like that. They also have had the ability to replace Jamaal Charles with Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware very nicely.

Finally, the play of their defense has been outstanding. They've been able to force turnovers and get great field position for their offense, which helps tremendously."

Marcus Peters' Emotional Journey To The NFL Was Worth The Wait from The Huffington Post

Marcus Peters didn't want to be a cliche. He didn't want a series of immature decisions to haunt him the rest of his life and mostly, he didn't want to squander his natural ability on the football field. And yet, after a tremendous start to his career at the University of Washington -- he amassed 11 interceptions in 34 games -- the talented cornerback was dismissed from the team during his junior season for violating team rules.

To understand where Peters is today is to understand where and what he comes from. He took his first steps on a football field and he counts Seattle Seahawks' superstar running back Marshawn Lynch, a fellow Oakland, California, native, as a de facto family member. Even as a little boy, he wanted to play in the NFL. Naturally, he wanted to succeed for himself, but also for his parents and community, who rallied behind him even amid the most challenging of circumstances.

Former Beavers Alexander, Nelson making their way as NFL rookies from Beavers Sports

Rarely in the National Football League do rookies move right to the front of the line and become every-down players immediately.

D.J. Alexander and Steven Nelson have taken the route of most first-year players, as special teams contributors, since being drafted and signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The former Oregon State players — Alexander an inside linebacker and Nelson a cornerback — are trying to prove their worth and work toward more regular roles on the defense.

"When I got drafted I knew that was going to be the beginning of my career. I told myself, this is how you're going to make your name. And that's what I did," said Alexander, who plays on four special teams units. "I just played hard on special teams in training camp and showed coach that I'm a special teams player. Hopefully later on I'll work my way into the defense. But right now it's all hands on deck, so whenever my number's called I'm ready."

Ravens vs. Chiefs: Key matchups from The Baltimore Sun

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce vs Ravens S's Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis: The Ravens have been poor in covering tight ends and will pay for it if they can't slow down Kelce. He has 59 catches for 749 yard with four touchdowns. Unlike some tight ends, he can work the deep middle of the field. Hill is one of the team's better tacklers with 56 and Lewis has 46. The Ravens are allowing nearly 250 passing yards per game. Edge: Chiefs.

Pelissero: Tom Coughlin's future about more than Giants' finish from USA Today

Scouting report on the first game of Cleveland Browns" culang="en">Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel's late-season audition: Solid. Did a good job stepping up under pressure. Didn't panic. Mostly got rid of the ball quickly. The San Francisco 49ers didn't put up much of a fight, though. It gets a lot tougher from here: Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs on the road, then at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17.

Who deserves to be NFL's rookie of the year? from USA Today

The offensive players in this class get all the attention, so I'll use this space to single out Marcus Peters. The Kansas City Chiefs cornerback is still prone to lapses due to his aggressive style, but he has five interceptions and displays a remarkable ability to close on the ball. With receivers Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel SandersAmari Cooper, Michael Cratbree and Keenan Allen holding court in the AFC West, the Chiefs have to be happy to have a young talent like Peters around. He's not a runaway selection for defensive rookie of the year in the same manner St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was last season, but he could be a Pro Bowl selection for some time.