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Arrowhead Report: Friday, December 3rd

Posted Dec 3, 2010

Buzz from Arrowhead before the Broncos come visiting this Sunday

Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos faced a battered Chiefs secondary two weeks ago when the teams squared off at INVESCO Field. Injuries to Kendrick Lewis and Jon McGraw pressed two young safeties into action.

Converted second-year cornerback Donald Washington received his first NFL start at safety and the Chiefs also promoted Ricky Price from the practice squad less than 24 hours before kickoff. Price would play nearly 50 defensive snaps.

There were plenty of things that went wrong for the Chiefs in that game. Orton rarely faced a rush and RB Knowshon Moreno posted his only 100-yard outing of 2010, but the loss of key members in the secondary certainly didn’t help things either. Denver quarterbacks finished the day 23-of-33 for 299 yards and four TDs. Orton and Tim Tebow also combined to post a 132.0 quarterback rating.

This week, the Chiefs are limping in the secondary again. Both McGraw and Lewis have found places on the injury report this week and CBs Brandon Flowers and Jackie Bates both appeared as well.

“The secondary situation has just been that spot where we can’t quite get everybody back,” Coach Todd Haley said. “It’s just been a domino effect type of deal there. Guys are working hard and doing all the things necessary to take care of their body and be as ready to go as possible, so we’ll just have to see. I’m sure that area will be an area that we’ll be working guys out right to the last minute.”

So it sounds as if the Chiefs may have some game-time decisions this weekend. That leads us into Friday’s injury report.

Injury Report – Kansas City

OUT: CB Jackie Bates (knee)

QUESTIONABLE: CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring)

PROBABLE: S Kendrick Lewis (ankle); G Ryan Lilja (foot); S Jon McGraw

Of Note: All injured players practiced this week with the exception of Bates. Flowers was limited in practice on Friday, while Lewis, Lilja and McGraw all practiced in full.

Injury Report – Denver

The Broncos listed four players on their injury report this week and all four were ruled out for this Sunday.

OUT: S Brian Dawkins (knee); CB Andre Goodman (hip); WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle); S Darcel McBath (quadriceps)

Fixing the Quarterback

For better or worse, almost every person in a high-profile position says something early in their tenure that stays with them throughout their occupancy. For Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, the quote was obvious.

“The first thing I wanted to do was help fix the quarterback,” Weis said during his first media session at Kansas City’s 2010 Training Camp.

 After Matt Cassel’s rocky start to 2010, at least from a statistical perspective, Weis was continually reminded of that comment during his dealings with the press. There were times when the questions were pointed directly towards that preseason statement.

Over time, things have obviously changed. Cassel’s efficiency has skyrocketed since early October and his numbers currently put him in the realm of the elite quarterbacks across the league. Yesterday, Cassel accomplished something that Joe Montana, Rich Gannon and Trent Green couldn’t do under center for the Chiefs; he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month.

After all of the early-season prodding that Weis endured, it would have been easy for the O.C. to take at least partial credit for Cassel’s emergence during his media session Friday afternoon. Instead, Weis deflected the credit to head coach Todd Haley and the rest of the team.  

“Listen, this is a team thing,” Weis said. “His production is a product of everyone – from Todd on down. We don’t look at that as an individual award. We look at that as something going right with the team. When your quarterback gets an award like that, it means that there are a lot of parts around him that are doing something right.”

Players/Coaches Call On Fans

Earlier this week, Shaun Smith gave away two tickets to Sunday’s game via his Twitter account. His message to fans was simple - get there early, get loud and support the team; the defense feeds off fan energy.

Yesterday, Haley also called on Chiefs fans to factor into a weekend of growing importance.

“Like I’ve said a bunch of times, this game is coming fast now,” Haley said. “I’m excited about the fact that we’re back at Arrowhead and I’m really excited about our fans having a chance to get back out there. I don’t know what our fans do on the weeks off, but I think just probably throw them raw meat and then get everybody back out there Sunday for what will be our biggest game of the year.”

Today, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel also touched on the importance of fans by explaining just what the home crowd has meant to Kansas City’s defense this season.

“If the crowd is involved in the game, it does help the defense,” Crennel said. “That’s one of the things that our players have to do. We have to get the crowd involved and you do that by making plays and giving great effort. When we do that, they get excited because they’re on our side and we have to give them something to cheer about.”

With the stakes increasing each week, Arrowhead’s fan factor has the potential to play a deciding role in the Chiefs securing a playoff berth. Three of Kansas City’s remaining five games are at home and it wasn’t long ago that a rowdy Arrowhead crowd mixed with December weather conditions, made Kansas City an impossible place for opponents to play.

At one point, Arrowhead witnessed 18 consecutive December victories.

The weather looks like it will play its December role this weekend. Thus far, the Arrowhead Advantage has re-established its dominance as well, leading to the Chiefs to a 5-0 record. The Chiefs are one of only four teams still undefeated at home this year, but Arrowhead hasn’t seen a December victory since 2006.

It’s time for the Chiefs to find home victories in December once again.

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