Eric Berry Named Pro Football Focus' Comeback Player of the Year from The Mothership
Berry's teammate, linebacker
Derrick Johnson, finished as the second runner-up, only behind Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. Johnson also had a great rebound season after rupturing his Achilles during the Week 1 matchup with the Tennessee Titans in 2014.
Read the full Pro Football Focus article here.
What We Learned from Wednesday's Media Availability from The Mothership
Q: How do you prepare without
PEDERSON: "It's like any other position, the next guy steps up. We did it in the second half of the game the other day and our young receivers did an outstanding job. And we just go forward that way. We'll see what happens later in the week. Next man has to step up, we'll be leaning on
Chris Conleya little bit more and ask him to fulfill that role."
Q: For young guys, is it better if they're thrown into it as opposed to having all week to think about it?
PEDERSON: "Well Chris has played a lot for us, too. He's got some valuable experience. And we've moved him around in certain packages during the week, so he's comfortable that way. I think it is better sometimes to just go, go play. You're not worried about everything that's out there, you're kind of focused in on your job and I think sometimes it can help and benefit a player that way."
How does the Chiefs DL feel about facing the Patriots? from The Mothership
"We can't get in his rhythm, and we can't expect the ball to be out quick every time because he'll leave it there and give us chances to get to him. So we've just got to keep rushing hard every play, and just keep coming," said Jaye Howard.
"We just can't give into his rhythm. We just have to keep on rushing and eventually we'll get there," said Allen Bailey.
One of the reasons the Chiefs defense has been able to weather the storm of a few games missed by both Allen Bailey and Mike DeVito is due to their versatility.
"We have players who are flexible and can play multiple positions," defensive coordinator Bob Sutton mentioned. "We don't have very many guys that are cubby-holed - almost every one of those guys have doubled up at some position in the game.
"That gives you I think a luxury, so to speak."
Opponent Preview: Get to Know the Patriots from The Mothership
"Playing against [the Chiefs] this week, I'm going to have to watch a lot of film," Brady said. "There is a lot to cover. There is a lot they do schematically, and then for us, it's just how we're going to be able to execute at a higher level than we've executed the last couple months. That's all we've been talking about is figuring out ways to get solid execution. And there is no magic ingredient. You've just got to go do it. Everyone has to do their job at a high level, awareness has to be high, and we've got to figure out how to score some points."
During last six games of the season, the Patriots compiled a 2-4 record, with losses to the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. But that stretch was without wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is expect to return Saturday after missing the last seven games.
In the AFC Wild Card Round, the Chiefs were able to drop their coats in Houston, but temperatures should be similar to home in Foxborough. Temperatures are expected to be around 37 degrees. But the Chiefs aren't shying away from a little cold.
"Foxborough will be a little cold there. Not the indoor environment we had here. But we've attested in those type of elements. Potential chance of snow, which we're fired up about. Hey bring it on. Whatever you want to give us, we'll take. We've been around the world and back. So we're ready to go. And it's exciting" - Andy Reid (08:20)
QB Series Conclusion Part Three: Finish... But Not Really from The Mothership
Keep in mind that hindsight often tells us one thing but facts at the time often reveal something different. It is important to consider evidence from the time, rather than reading backward with all we know about outcomes, to fathom the complexities and circumstances when decisions are made or events take place.
Kansas City's struggles at finding a franchise quarterback are not extraordinary because they are unrepresentative of the experience of NFL teams but because they are representative of them.
Yet, generations of Chiefs fans more often view this search for a "franchise quarterback" through a prism that isolates the Chiefs from the rest of the league. The media have fed that skepticism which, of course, is their place to do, if not always accurately. But the misjudgments that we have traced in these columns are no more than one would find with other franchises.
Blowout loss to Chiefs in 2014 still fresh in Patriots' minds from The Kansas City Star
"It's one of the most special games I ever remember at Arrowhead," a beaming Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said after the 2014 New England game. "What can be better than beating the New England Patriots on ‘Monday Night Football' and beating them very decisively, to kick off a week like this?
" ‘Monday Night' is always electric ... the team's performance was off the charts, and the fans came to play as well."
Indeed, the decibel record at Arrowhead was measured at 142.2, topping the previous record of 137.5 as determined by the Guinness Book of World Records.
"They not only broke the noise record," Hunt said, "They crushed it."
The same can be said about the way the Chiefs destroyed New England. They forced superstar quarterback Tom Brady to the bench in the fourth quarter and handed the Patriots their second-worst loss by a team coached by future Hall of Famer Bill Belichick.
The last time the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots squared off, it was an unforgettable night, one that Bill Belichick has absolutely no interest in revisiting.
"Go back and look at everything I said right after the game. Do you want something more than that?" Belichick snapped this week when asked what went wrong in that 41-14 blowout on Sept. 29, 2014.
"That was a year and a half ago, so whatever you want I'm sure there's plenty of. I was asked 1,000 questions about it. If you don't have access to it, I'm sure you can get the transcripts of that."
Cairo Santos enters Chiefs' record books in playoff debut from Chiefs Digest
The Chiefs placekicker knew before the game he would have a good day.
"I did feel during warmups I was a little more pumped up than usual," Santos said. "You could feel the atmosphere of such an important game and I was kicking with confidence. I could tell the ball was carrying a little bit farther."
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub agreed.
"You could tell in his warmup that he had some energy," Toub said. "He was attacking the ball and the ball was flying off his foot."
Playing indoors at NRG Stadium certainly didn't hurt.
Chiefs' Daniel Sorensen went from undrafted to special teams captain from The Kansas City Star
Unlike most NFL teams, the Chiefs don't name captains at the start of the season, which means they don't wear the "C" patches on their jerseys that other teams do during the regular season. This is by design, as Chiefs coach Andy Reid prefers to rotate his captains on a weekly basis before the team votes on permanent captains for the potseason.
And of the Chiefs' six postseason captains this year â all of whom wore red "C" patches on the front of their jerseys in their 30-0 drubbing of Houston on Saturday â no one was more thrilled than second-year safety Daniel Sorensen, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and has now been recognized as one of the team's leaders, albeit on special teams.
"It's awesome man," Sorensen said. "I took a picture of the jersey, I sent it to my mom, my brother, wife."
Fortunately for the Chiefs, Kelce doesn't seem to be worried about outperforming Rob Gronkowski as he prepares for Saturday's divisional round playoff game against the Patriots in New England. The Chiefs just need Kelce to do what he does and not try to do too much, as he's been guilty of before.
"We're in a single-elimination game," Kelce said. "I have no focus or no care for anything that offense does . . .
Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson taking on bigger role from The Kansas City Star
Wilson had at least one reception in each of the Chiefs' final 11 regular-season games and had two in the team's 30-0 wild-card playoff victory at Houston last Saturday.
More could be needed this week. Maclin, the Chiefs' leading receiver who was injured in the third quarter against Houston, hasn't practiced this week. His injury has been called a "mild" high-ankle sprain by coach Andy Reid.
Although more responsibility will come his way - along with Chris Conley and Jason Avant - Wilson said he doesn't feel an additional burden.
"I don't know about any more than usual," he said. "We'll be ready."
Chiefs' Justin Houston returns to limited practice Wednesday from Chiefs Digest
And it doesn't appear Houston experienced issues with his knee after playing last weekend against the Texans, his first action since Week 12 of the regular season.
"It's doing good," Houston said of his knee. "A little sore from that brace. I think the brace beat me up more than anything."
While Houston practiced, outside linebacker Tamba Hali (thumb, knee) did not despite the team moving outdoors. Hali was not present on the field during the portion of practice open to the media.
In fact, Houston left last Saturday's playoff game against the Houston Texans for a stretch of plays because of the brace and not the injury. Houston said it's the first time he's ever played with a brace on the knee.
"I kept banging my leg against the brace," he said. "If I felt comfortable playing without it, I'd go out there [without] it. But I feel safe with it. Playing with that thing is never comfortable. I just have to get used to it."
Chiefs' Doug Pederson says interview with Eagles ‘went great' from Chiefs Digest
While it remains to be seen if the Eagles hire Pederson, who won't be available while the Chiefs are alive in the playoffs, he believes the time spent with Reid will help if he ultimately lands a head coaching position.
"The things I've learned from Coach Reid, wherever, if it's in my future to become a head coach," Pederson said, "then there's a lot of great examples of him leading a team and an organization that I can use in my future as well."
The Chiefs offensive coordinator said he has not been scheduled for a second interview as of now.
Doug Pederson says he can separate roles of Chiefs coach, Eagles job candidate from The Kansas City Star
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said he was satisfied with his interview Sunday for the Philadelphia Eagles' head coaching job.
"It went great," Pederson said. "I have a lot of respect for the organization and what they're doing there."
Chiefs sign DB Keith Lewis to reserve/future deal from Chiefs Digest
Lewis becomes the seventh player the Chiefs have signed to a reserve/future deal since the end of the 2015 regular season.
The previous six players signed on Jan. 6 are wide receiver Kenny Cook, defensive end Dominique Davis, linebacker Cameron Gordon, defensive back Jordan Kovacs, fullback Trey Millard and defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu.
Patriots defensive lineman Chandler Jones had a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana, leading to his hospitalization early Sunday, a source familiar with the situation told the Boston Globe on Wednesday.
As the Boston Herald first reported, Jones sought help from Foxborough police Sunday morning and was admitted to Norwood Hospital shortly after 8 a.m.
Patriots notebook: Rob Gronkowski's not up to speed from The Boston Herald
A knee injury still bothers Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots tight end was listed as a limited participant during yesterday's practice, and the ailment was also tabbed as the reason for his surprising absence from Tuesday's fully padded workout ahead of Saturday's AFC divisional round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. He hadn't been listed on the injury report with the knee problem since Week 14 of the regular season.
Gronkowski suffered a sprained and bruised right knee in the fourth quarter of a loss in Denver to the Broncos in Week 12, and he missed one game before returning in Houston against the Texans.
The NFL intends to review Chandler Jones' Sunday morning hospital visit.
Jones, the star Patriots defensive end, arrived at the Foxborough police station Sunday at 7:42 a.m., according to records obtained by The Boston Herald, and was transported to Norwood hospital shortly after 8 a.m. to seek help for an undisclosed medical issue.
That's bit complicated. It's unclear if synthetic marijuana is even banned by the NFL. Here's an excerpt from the league's drug policy:The NFL and the NFLPA prohibit Players from the illegal use, possession, or distribution of drugs, including but not limited to cocaine; marijuana; opiates and opioids; methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA); and phencyclidine (PCP). The abuse of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and alcohol is also prohibited. For example, the use of amphetamines and substances that induce similar effects, absent a verified and legitimate need for appropriate dosages of such substances to treat existing medical conditions, is prohibited.
Obviously, the language there ("including but not limited to") is fairly vague. This isn't the full list of banned substances, and the league did not respond to a request for the full list.
Buckley: Last thing Patriots need is Chandler Jones drama from The Boston Herald
Sorry, ye faithful citizens of Patriot Nation. And my apologies to the hundreds of thousands of New Englanders who keep a framed "In Bill We Trust" needlepoint hanging over the fireplace. But it's a fact that Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones stumbled into the Foxboro Police Department on Sunday morning with a "medical emergency" that required a rushed trip to Norwood Hospital. And that's not a good look for the Patriots going into Saturday's game.
The Pats are banged up as it is. That's why they're 12-4 and the No. 2 seed in the American Football Conference, as opposed to the 16-0 marauders everyone thought they would be. Times being what they are, the Pats can leave nothing to chance. There are no easy roads, and there is no margin for error.
That's why Pats fans should be concerned about this Chandler Jones business.
The players get media training to handle how to answer tough questions. Duron Harmon likened it almost to being brainwashed.
"I think Coach Belichick really does a great job of just brainwashing you to let you know there are certain things we need to care about and certain things we need to just let be," he said. "He does a great job. And right now, all we can do is just focus on Kansas City. They're a great football team and they're going to come in here ready to win. They've won 11 games straight and all we can do is continue to focus on them because if you don't, you're letting them the advantage on you."
Offensive lineman Josh Kline didn't agree with the "brainwashing" term, but said they know what to say and when to say it.
"Not really, he just reminds us constantly about the little things and focusing on our jobs," Kline said of Belichick.
Guregian: Patsriots defense takes aim at Chiefs' Travis Kelce from The Boston Herald
The Pats will do everything possible to take the Chiefs tight end out of the game.
It's not rocket science. In fact, there are plenty of examples in which the Patriots defense did the job quite well. Think about the Dallas game in Week 5 and how tight end Jason Witten was eliminated.
Once Witten was taken out, Brandon Weeden had no one to throw to, given Dez Bryant missed that game with an injury.
There are also a few examples where the mission wasn't accomplished. Brandon Marshall killed the Pats in their Week 16 loss to the Jets, catching eight balls for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns, mostly against Ryan. He beat the defense instead of the other way around.
Eliminating Kelce will be a difficult job. Without Maclin at 100 percent against the Texans, Kelce took control, catching eight passes for 128 yards. This season he caught 72 passes for 875 yards.
Safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty have largely been in charge of covering tight ends this season. Kelce will likley require a two-man converage.
"He's explosive, good hands, good run-after-the-catch," Chung said. "[That's] key with him. He's good. He wouldn't be in the playoffs - that team wouldn't be in the playoffs if he wasn't good, so he's a good player and we've just got to try to limit his production as best we can."
Gronkowski may have twice as many touchdowns and 300 more yards, but a look at each tight end's yards-after-catch numbers are revealing.
Kelce had 72 catches and managed 533 yards after catch, for an average of 7.4 yards.
Gronkowksi also had 72 catches with 565 yards after catch, averaging 7.84 yards.
Travis Kelce's top priority: win from The Boston Herald
It was Berry scary
Safety Eric Berry has had a tough go the past 13 months.
On Nov. 24, 2014, doctors discovered a mass in the chest of the three-time Pro Bowler, just four days after it first manifested itself with pain. Berry was later diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a cancer that originates in white blood cells.
Berry had to steel himself for the journey ahead, reminding himself to "fear nothing, attack everything" - a saying plastered high on the walls of the Chiefs locker room, and a mantra emanating from coach Andy Reid.
Top priority: Stop run from The Boston Herald
The Chiefs offense is predicated on a deceptive rushing attack that yields a balanced operation when everything runs smoothly. Quarterback Alex Smith is the driving force behind that success, but the Chiefs get contributions from many, including running backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware and their wide receivers.
"A great running team, a great team philosophy," Pats defensive tackle Akiem Hicks said. "You've got to keep your eye out for Alex Smith."
The Chiefs' traditional runs are OK, but because their offensive linemen aren't overly powerful in one-on-one situations, they tend to have more success by creating mismatches in numbers. They'll pull their linemen, similar to the Pats' scheme, and use tight ends in wham blocks to create lanes.
Alex Smith puts ‘D' on edge from The Boston Herald
"He's a quick guy, he's fast and he's one of those guys that can be in the pocket and out of the pocket in a flash so you have to do a great job on the edge," defensive end Rob Ninkovich said of Smith. "Not just the guys on the edge but everybody on the front has to understand that this quarterback can run for first downs on any given play."
Smith developed his dual threat capabilities at the University of Utah and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, selected by the San Francisco 49ers. Smith enjoyed success in his first six years in San Francisco before being injured, supplanted by Colin Kaepernick and ultimately traded to the Chiefs. He has thrived in three seasons in Kansas City under coach Andy Reid.
Key matchup Patrick Chung vs. Travis Kelce from The Boston Herald
Skinny: Kelce looks and plays like Rob Gronkowski, but he obviously isn't at Gronk's level yet. Chung won't have to stop Kelce on his own. Rob Ninkovich and others will chip Kelce at the line, and Collins and Devin McCourty will have opportunities to double Kelce. Bill Belichick will load up to make sure Kelce doesn't become an impact player.
Lay down your weapons from The Boston Herald
Much about playing defense has to do with taking away weapons. This season, the Patriots have been pretty good at eliminating all of the primary threats. Now, it hasn't always worked. Week 16 against the Jets, for example, Brandon Marshall couldn't be stopped no matter what the Pats did. But for the most part, the Pats have been able to get the job done. Here are a few examples from the regular season:
Patriots-Chiefs: Bests & Worsts heading into playoff clash from The Boston Herald
Patriots' worst loss: vs. Eagles
Coming off an overtime defeat at Denver, the Patriots hosted a bad Eagles team at home and just didn't show up. Their special teams effort was uncharacteristically poor, and Philadelphia scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams en route to a 35-28 win in Foxboro.
Chiefs' worst loss: vs. Bears
The Chiefs blew a 17-3 halftime lead at home and fell to the Bears 18-17 in October. Cairo Santos missed a pair of field goals for the Chiefs, and Jay Cutler threw two late fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lift the Bears to victory.
Red-hot Chiefs face Patriots team that lost four of last six from Stats Inc via FS Kansas City
Bill Belichick's team dropped four of its final six after winning its first 10 and managed just 196 total yards -- its fewest since 2010 -- in a 20-10 loss at Miami in the regular-season finale.
"I think the more dependable, consistent players that are out there, the better our offense is going to be. (Edelman's) been one of them for as long as he's been here," Brady said. "Depending on what he can do we'll try to find ways to integrate him.
"Whoever's out there we're going to have to have confidence in. There's no next week, so we're going to have to do everything you can do to be out on the field and help us win."
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith enjoying best season from The Associated Press via The San Jose Mercury News
Alex Smith had just led the Kansas City Chiefs to another win in what has become a season full of them when offensive coordinator Doug Pederson was asked to assess his quarterback.
Rarely one to speak in superlatives, Pederson replied quite candidly: "I think he's probably having the best season of his career, honestly."
Pick your metric, and it probably backs up that appraisal.
If a decision comes before Saturday, the door would obviously be closed on Pederson. The Chiefs travel to Foxborough, Mass., to face the Patriots that afternoon, and even if the Eagles were to want Pederson they would have to wait until Kansas City was eliminated from the postseason.
But there have been recent reports that the Eagles could possibly announce their choice over the next several days.
Five reasons why jilted Rams fans should switch to the Chiefs from FOX Sports
The NFL decided to strip one faithful Midwestern city of their Super Bowl-winning franchise.
Fortunately, Missouri has two of them. And once the sting of relocation
subsides, St. Louisiansshould swap their gold and blue jerseys for red and white ones.
Here are five good reasons why estranged Rams fans should support the "Show-Me" State's only remaining pro football team:
Colts make move to steal Rams fans from The Indianapolis Star
At 11:47 a.m. Wednesday as analysts in the sports world were rambling and ranting and raving about news that L.A. -- at long last -- would again be home to an NFL team, the Colts' Twitter account made its move.
It tweeted out a map -- a map showing two points. One point was Edward Jones Dome (home to the Rams) and the other point was Lucas Oil Stadium (home to the Colts).
The gist: Take a straight shoot on I-70 East, drive 240 miles and... in three hours and 48 minutes Rams fans can transform into Colts fans.
The boutique was one of the stores feds targeted in a series of raids in 2014.
It cost the boutiques thousands of dollars. Vaughan says the underwear were confiscated all because the placement of the letters 'k' and 'c'.
"Because we connected the k, and c in the printed panties it was copyright infringement so it was breaking laws. Fortunately they just confiscated them. I think they could have gone a little further so we kind of lucked out," said Vaughn.
The boutique has since changed its practices to make sure their Chiefs briefs aren't in violation. They're doing it by making panties out of t-shirts.
"There's no way I'll be able to sit out in this," Simmons told FOX 4 News. "My immune system is already shot. I can get pneumonia if someone sneezes on me."
Earlier this season, Karen's family talked with Arrowhead Stadium fan representatives, who arranged for her to move from her seats in an upper deck, to a covered section out of the elements. Simmons says she was overjoyed by her drier, warmer surroundings in the stadium's section designated for fans with disabilities.
"They don't have to do that," Lacey Bachman, Simmons' daughter, said. "When she told me we could do that, I was like, 'What?' It wasn't like they made you jump through hoops or anything. They care about their fans."
With Washington out of the playoffs, football fans look for a new favorite from The Washington Post
Football experts always talk about getting "hot" or playing your best at playoff time. No team is hotter or playing better than the Chiefs.
So try rooting for the Chiefs or the Panthers or the Packers. You might be backing a Super Bowl winner.
"Over Time" from Pro Football Hall of Fame
Today, the AFC Championship Trophy is known as the Lamar Hunt Trophy, in honor of the founder of the AFL and the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt. The NFC Championship Trophy is named the George S. Halas Trophy, in honor of George Halas, one of the founders of the NFL and the Chicago Bears.
Unfortunately, neither Lamar nor George are alive to witness and celebrate the upcoming milestone Super Bowl. However, the two First Ladies of Football, Virginia McCaskey, the daughter of George Halas, and Norma Hunt, the wife of Lamar will be watching and celebrating the historic event and doing so with an appreciation that only they could have. A wife and a daughter of the founders of two rival leagues that now play as one. These two women know firsthand how hard their loved ones worked to make their leagues a success. They know how much they loved the game and how proud they both were with what they had built.
And proud they must have been. But even in their most optimistic moment, I can't imagine that either Lamar Hunt or George Halas ever imagined that their pro football ventures would be as successful as they have become. And while success is what they worked so hard to achieve, it was more than that.
After 4 Road Wins, Pro Picks Likes the Home Teams from The Associated Press via The New York Times
Kansas City (plus 5) at New England, Saturday
Despite the Patriots' recent slump, triggered by injuries and an inability to give Tom Brady time to pick apart opponents, they are rested and should have top target Julian Edelman back. Gillette Stadium is a very difficult place to win anytime, especially in the postseason, but KC isn't the type of team to get intimidated.
Of particular fun could be how the two tight ends, New England All-Pro Rob Gronkowski and Kansas City's under-noticed Travis Kelce, fare.
Damon Huard Joins First Sound Bank Board of Directors from CNN Money
First Sound Bank (OTCBB;FSWA) today announced that Damon Huardhas been appointed to its board of directors. "We are very honored to have Mr. Huard join our board," said First Sound Bank Chairman and CEO Pat Fahey. "His small-business experience, and his standing in the community, will be a great asset to First Sound Bank and our clients."
Patriots and Chiefs consistently among league's best in protecting the ball from The Providence Journal
Saturday's divisional round will match the AFC's two stingiest teams in terms of giveaways - both this year and over the last several seasons.
The Patriots led the NFL with just 14 giveaways during the regular season, with the Chiefs coming in second with 15. That's not an isolated trend for either. Since Andy Reid took over in Kansas City in 2013, the Pats and Chiefs rank first and tied for second in all of football in giveaways. New England has averaged under one per game over that stretch (47 in 48 games), with Kansas City at just over that mark (49 in 48 games).
A decade in the NFL, and the verdict on Alex Smith is still: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ from The Guardian
Of the eight starting quarterbacks still playing this season, five of them - Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson - have won at least one Super Bowl. Their credentials are established.
Then there's Cam Newton who, at age 26, is the likely NFL MVP and should get plenty of cracks at the postseason in his career. He is a good quarterback and everyone knows that. The No2 seed in the NFC is led by Carson Palmer, a former Pro Bowl quarterback who has experienced a career resurgence in Arizona. He is a solid QB. A known quantity.
That leaves Alex Smith.
Raise your hand if you know if the Chiefs quarterback is good or bad. OK, look around everyone. All those with their hands raised are liars.