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Arrowhead Report: Another significant meeting with the Broncos

Posted Nov 11, 2011

LB Demorrio Williams ruled out for Sunday's game, plus other notes

Todd Haley is 2-2 all-time as a head coach against the Broncos, but each of those victories has proved significant for the Chiefs.

In the 2009 season finale, Kansas City used its 44-24 victory at Denver as a springboard for the 2010 offseason. It was a day that Jamaal Charles nearly established an NFL single-game rushing record and Derrick Johnson’s two interception returns for touchdowns helped revitalize the linebacker’s career.

More importantly, the win helped establish a core group of players at the end of a transitional first season under Haley.

“I think that last game of 2009 will be something that the core of our team and the guys that have been here will always reflect positively on just from the standpoint of I feel like we had things going in the right direction,” Haley said. “To finish off the year in that fashion was a positive.”

Last year’s victory over Denver was critical in Kansas City’s AFC West title run.

The 10-6 win at Arrowhead ended Josh McDaniels’ coaching tenure in Denver and helped the Chiefs hold strong atop the AFC West despite San Diego’s late push for the division. It was the Chiefs third win in a row after being blown out in Denver, and falling to 5-4, just three weeks prior.

A victory against Denver this weekend could end up being another significant moment for the Chiefs.

Trailing Oakland by a half-game in the AFC West, the Chiefs have an opportunity to keep pace in the division standings before embarking on a five-game stretch that features a Monday night game in New England and contests against the AFC and NFC Championship Game participants from a year ago.

“It’s a four horse race,” Haley said of the AFC West. “I’ve said our focus from the start of the year to the end of the year will be the same and that’s to win our division because that’s our guaranteed absolute best chance to get into the second season and have a chance to do great things.

“That’s the number one, primary goal for us and this is the Denver Broncos, like I said, all four horses are neck and neck and it doesn’t matter how the division is won. It just matters that who wins it gets to play more.”

Muir Knows Fox

Chiefs offensive coordinator Bill Muir is plenty familiar with Broncos head coach John Fox.

The two squared off against one another for seven seasons (2002-08) as NFC South foes when the defensive-minded Fox was head coach of Carolina and Muir was the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay.

“One thing that you know about a defense that John Fox puts on the field is they will be physical and they will play hard,” Muir said. “A John Fox defense plays a lot of man-on-man and says, ‘Let’s go. Let’s see who the toughest guy is over the long haul.’”

 

The Buccaneers went 5-9 against the Panthers from 2002-08 and averaged 18.8 points per game. Much of Carolina’s defensive success came in stopping the run. Tampa averaged only 3.3 yards per carry over that 14-game span.

Fox is 2-0 all-time as a head coach against Kansas City. The last meeting came in 2008 at Carolina when the Panthers shutout the Chiefs 34-0.

Short Inside

Demorrio Williams, a former starter and the Chiefs top reserve at inside linebacker, will miss Sunday’s game with a groin injury. The injury kept him out of practice all week.

With Williams ruled out, the Chiefs defense enters the weekend with a shortage at inside linebacker. Williams was listed as the primary backup to both Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher and is one of the Chiefs top special teams players as well.

Cory Greenwood is currently the only healthy reserve at inside linebacker. He’s played exclusively on the weak side (“Will”) since arriving in Kansas City last year. An injury to Belcher would likely shift Johnson to the strong side (“Mike”) position.

The Chiefs still have time to make a roster move before Sunday’s game if they’re uncomfortable with depth at linebacker against Denver’s high-powered rushing attack. Justin Cole is currently on the practice squad and played on the strong side throughout training camp. Promoting Cole, however, would require the Chiefs to clear space on the 53-man roster.

Arenas Says He’ll Play

Javier Arenas isn’t accustomed to being part of the Chiefs injury report. An ankle injury placed him on Kansas City’s injury list for the first time of his career last Friday.

Arenas would go on to miss the first game of his NFL career because of the injury.

The ankle injury is still lingering for Arenas, who practiced in full on Wednesday but was downgraded to a limited role on Thursday. Regardless, Arenas told reporters he won’t be missing his second-consecutive game.

Coach Todd Haley thought enough of Arenas’ progress in Friday afternoon’s practice to rule the cornerback/punt returner probable for Sunday’s game.

Other notes from the injury report included Jon McGraw (shoulder) completing his second-straight day of full practice participation. McGraw, who missed last Sunday’s game, is officially questionable for this weekend.

Chiefs Injury Report

OUT - LB Demorrio Williams (Groin)

QUESTIONABLE – S Jon McGraw (Shoulder)

PROBABLE – CB Javier Arenas (Ankle)

Broncos Injury Report

The Broncos didn't have any players miss practice Friday afternoon.

QUESTIONABLE: LB Wesley Woodyard (Knee), CB Cassius Vaughn (Hamstring)

PROBABLE: S Brian Dawkins (Thigh), TE Virgil Green (Neck), FB Spencer Larsen (Shoulder), S Rahim Moore (Concussion), RB Willis McGahee (Hand)

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