Foul language is taking new form at Arrowhead these days. So much so that Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has banned all use of the “P-Word” in, out and around the Chiefs Training Facility.
(If you’re having trouble reading between the lines, maybe Jim Mora can provide a hint towards defining the “P-Word”)
Banning all use of the word stems from Haley’s season-long philosophy of taking a one-game-at-a-time approach while breaking the NFL’s 16-game slate into four separate quarters. Haley doesn’t want his team thinking about, preparing for or approaching this Sunday any differently just because the Chiefs are, at a maximum, two games away from becoming AFC West Champions.
“We made progress and I think one of the keys to us making progress has been our ability to stay focused on the task at hand,” Haley said. “That has been a pretty strongly emphasized point that we are focused on this game, trying to get to 2-1 in the fourth quarter of the season.”
If things fall right this weekend, Kansas City could wrap up the division a week early. A Chiefs win, coupled with a San Diego loss would crown the Chiefs AFC West Champions and no doubt make for a fulfilling Christmas.
Still, the Chiefs haven’t put the potential twist of events on their holiday wish list; at least not publically.
“Nobody has really brought that up,” DE
While the Chiefs refuse to use the “P-Word,” it is rather coincidental that reaching Haley’s goal of three wins per quarter would also achieve a preseason goal of winning the AFC West.
“Generally if you can win three out of four each quarter, which we have done twice, our goal is to do it all four quarters,” Haley explained. “We let that second quarter slip and we had a great opportunity to get to three there. We don’t have any fudge room because of that.
“The only thing different in the fourth quarter than all the rest is that there is no room to make up for anything at any other time. The time is now and we have to get to 2-1 so we can have a chance to reach our goal.”
With or without the “P-Word,” everything ties together.
Behind the Text Message
As Titans RB Chris Johnson prepared for an interview earlier this week, in came a text from Chiefs DE Glenn Dorsey. Johnson declined to share specifics of the message with members of the Tennessee media, but Dorsey’s text didn’t have anything to do with game-week smack talk.
“I was just checking on him to see what’s up,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey’s relationship with Johnson stems from when he,
“He’s a good dude; I see him a few times in the offseason and he’s a good player that will come out and try to get his yards,” Dorsey said. “We try to check up on each other during the year.”
Johnson got the best of Dorsey in a 168-yard performance at Arrowhead when the two were rookies and Dorsey said he remembers the day that the bongos banged very vividly.
Gilberry has yet to play against Johnson. He joined the Chiefs practice squad two weeks after the Titans visited Arrowhead in 2008.
With and Without Britt
When it comes to defenses stacking the box, Tennessee has seen many of the same looks that Kansas City has throughout the 2010 season. A runner like Chris Johnson commands that type of game-planning.
Like most coordinators, Romeo Crennel is putting a priortiy on stopping Johnson this Sunday. Unfortunately, he’ll also have to find a way to balance run-stopping efforts with the Titans down-field passing game. Just two weeks ago, the Titans were a much easier team to defend.
For a full month Tennessee was without go-to WR Kenny Britt (33-601, 7 TDs) and struggled mightily to push the ball vertically. The addition of Randy Moss didn’t provide a down-field spark and Johnson saw plenty of defenders stack the box while the Titans passing game sputtered.
“Teams are going to do whatever they have to do to shut the run game down and we were unable to throw the ball down the field effectively for a number of weeks,” Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said.
Without Britt in the lineup, Tennessee went 0-4 averaging just 162 passing yards per game. With Britt, the Titans are 6-4 this season and have seen nearly a 20% increase in passing yardage than in games without him.
“He’s a difference maker, there’s no doubt,” Haley said. “I think the entire group, they do a very good job of stretching the field and running fast. I think it helps their run game because as a defender you don’t know whether it’s run or pass so that you don’t give that defender the edge to figure it out quicker and they do an excellent job of that.”
Tennessee’s running game also stalled without Britt in the lineup. Johnson and the rest of the Titans averaged less than 100 yards on the ground per contest.
Britt returned to a full slate of offensive snaps last Sunday against Houston and finished with 6 catches for 128 yards (21.3 avg.). Johnson responded with 130 yards on 24 carries.
“Even though we have to load up against Johnson, we also have to defend the vertical part of the game when they decide to do that,” said Crennel.
Jones and Charles Chase Leaders
Charles currently ranks third in the NFL with 1,303 rushing yards, trailing Houston’s Arian Foster (-42 yards) and Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew (-21 yards) for the league lead. With Jones-Drew unlikely to play this weekend, his number two spot should be surpassed, though Chris Johnson and Michael Turner are both within 50 yards of Charles’ rushing total.
Despite a truncated workload early in his career, Charles is also moving up the rushing charts of those running backs acquired in the 2008 NFL Draft.
|RK.||PLAYER (RB SELECTED)||TEAM||ATTS.||YDS||TDS|
|1||Chris Johnson (5)||Tennessee||891||4,501||34|
|2||Matt Forte (6)||Chicago||777||3,032||17|
|3||Ray Rice (7)||Baltimore||623||2,844||11|
|4||Jamaal Charles (9)||Kansas City||460||2,780||11|
|5||Darren McFadden (1)||Oakland||429||1,968||12|
|6||Jonathan Stewart (2)||Carolina||552||2,637||22|
|7||Reshard Mendenhall (4)||Pittsburgh||553||2,339||17|
|8||Kevin Smith (8)||Detroit||489||1,856||12|
|9||Steve Slaton (10)||Houston||418||1,812||12|
|10||Felix Jones (3)||Dallas||304||1,592||7|
Jones, meanwhile, trails the N.Y. Jets’ LaDainian Tomlinson by 58 yards for the most rushing yards of any free agent running back joining a new team in 2010 (minimum 3 accrued seasons).
|1||LaDainian Tomlinson||N.Y. Jets||206||886||5|
|2||Thomas Jones||Kansas City||212||828||6|
|4||Brian Westbrook||San Francisco||54||221||2|
|5||Ladell Betts||New Orleans||45||150||2|
Battling illness throughout the week, LB
The only injury facing the Chiefs as they head into Sunday is DB