Arrowhead Report: Shutting Down Ford

Posted Oct 21, 2011

Chiefs remember Jacoby Ford's big game in Oakland last season

The plan of attack to defend Oakland return man Jacoby Ford is simple. Kick touchbacks and kick a lot of them.

If Ryan Succop isn’t able to drive his kickoffs out the back of the end zone, things will get much tougher for the Chiefs kickoff coverage team.

“If we give him a ball to return, we have to cover our lanes and not give him any creases because he’ll hit it fast and he’ll do to us what he did last year,” LB Cory Greenwood said.

The Chiefs special teamers have seen footage of Ford’s game-changer more than a dozen times this week during film review sessions. Ford took back a kickoff 94 yards to open the second half in Kansas City’s last visit to Oakland and it completely flipped the game.

Kansas City’s kickoff coverage unit didn’t come close to touching the speedster and Ford used his big return as a springboard for a breakout performance offensively as well.

“Coach has shown that (return) to us in every meeting,” Greenwood said. “He runs a lot of middle (returns) and off the middles they do bounces, so you just have to read the blocks. If guys are hanging, you can’t get sucked in because he’ll bounce it out.”

Last week, Ford turned the game against Cleveland with a 101-yard kickoff return touchdown. It broke a 7-7 second quarter tie and the Raiders would hold a lead for the rest of the day.

What makes Ford even tougher to defend is his ability to abandon scripted returns and beat defenders to the sideline. His elite speed can unravel well-covered kicks. All he needs is a small window of daylight.

“He’s just got crazy speed,” Greenwood said. “No one is catching him if he turns up the sideline. I saw him run away from (Antonio) Cromartie of the Jets one time and he’s a fast corner.”

“He obviously has vision and is a good runner, but with that kind of speed when he’s able to find a crease, it decreases your margin of error for everybody trying to cover him,” head coach Todd Haley added.

Brandon Flowers knows Ford’s speed all too well. He beat Flowers deep last year to setup Oakland’s game-winning overtime field goal. The Chiefs were playing quarters and Oakland ran a receiver underneath the safeties to draw man coverage on Ford’s post pattern over the top.

Flowers actually had pretty good coverage on the play, but Ford’s sprinter speed was too much to defend during the final few yards of the 47-yard completion.

“I think this is an easy week to see the importance of (special teams),” Haley said. “All we have to do is put on that game last year out there.

“Obviously, at the end of the game we needed to get a first down and weren’t able to do it, but before that we had a big return called back, they had a big return on us, we fumbled a kickoff return, so we did a number of things on special teams that really hurt us and really cost us a chance to win that game last year.”

Origins of Superstition

Following Kansas City’s 28-24 victory over Indianapolis on October 9th, Todd Haley made the declaration that he didn’t plan to shave his beard until the Chiefs lost. Thurs far, he’s lived up to that promise.

Speaking with reporters after Friday’s practice, Haley revealed the origins of that superstition. It turns out the rally beard idea began as a suggestion from Todd’s wife, Chrissy.

“My wife was as the San Diego game and I generally ask her if I should shave and she said, ‘no, don’t shave,’ but I didn’t listen and I shaved,” Haley explained. “We ended up losing the San Diego game, so that explains the beard because she’s stayed on me about making sure, leading into the next two, that I didn’t shave.”

Haley’s rally beard will look for its third-straight victory this Sunday in Oakland.

As for the sweaty red hat…

“The hat is just trying to accumulate wins,” Haley said laughing.

Injury Report

As expected, the Chiefs ruled RB Jackie Battle and FB Le’Ron McClain probable for Sunday’s game. Both players practiced throughout the week after suffering minor neck injuries against Indianapolis prior to the bye week.

Chiefs Injury Report

RB Jackie Battle – PROBABLE (Neck)

FB Le’Ron McClain – PROBABLE (Neck)

Raiders Injury Report

Sebastian Janikowski's status for Sunday's game has come into question after not practicing Friday in Oakland because of a left hamstring injury. As for late Friday afternoon, the Raiders had not made a roster move to bring in another kicker. Janikowski is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game. P Shane Lechler owns one career field goal attempt, missing a short kick in 2000.

The Raiders also added DT Richard Seymour to the injury report Friday afternoon. Seymour did not take part in Oakland's practice because of a knee injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday.

OUT - QB Jason Campbell (Collarbone, Foot), CB Chris Johnson (Groin, Hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE - RB Rock Cartright (Calf), CB Chimdi Chekwa (Hamstring), LB Rolando McClain (Ankle), RB Marcel Reece (Ankle), S Michael Huff (Ankle), K Sebastian Janikowski (Left Hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (Groin), DT Richard Seymour (Knee)

PROBABLE - TE Richard Gordon (Hand), C Samson Satele (Ribs), TE Brandon Myers (Ribs)

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