PDA

View Full Version : Teicher: No fear in Chiefs


tk13
10-31-2004, 01:05 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/10058654.htm

No fear in Chiefs
Defense looking forward to rematch

By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star


The Chiefs might have psychological issues about playing the Indianapolis Colts even if their memory went back only so far as last seasons's playoff game.

The Colts came to Kansas City in January and did just about anything they pleased. Indianapolis scored on each possession in a 38-31 win that sent the Colts and not the Chiefs to the following week's AFC championship game in New England.

But for the Chiefs there are so many other haunting memories about this rivalry. For starters, no Chief has been part of a victory against the Colts while playing for Kansas City.

The Colts evidently know the combination to the Arrowhead Stadium safe. They've won here five straight times. Peyton Manning is 4-0 against the Chiefs. Marvin Harrison has 36 receptions and four touchdowns against the Chiefs in five games, all wins.

This is all enough of a concern to Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil that, with the Colts playing at Arrowhead today, he made it a subject of a team meeting this week.

“It would be great for our team confidence and our belief in each other and everything we've got going on if we could line up and beat the likes of Indianapolis,” Vermeil said. “We also know what it's going to take. I think we know what it's going to take today better than we did last year when we played them. I'd like to think we're better prepared. I just think we're improved enough now defensively that we can play a team like that.

“Hopefully, we've eliminated a percentage of doubt that accumulates within a roster.”

The Chiefs are walking with plenty of swagger these days even though they're a measly 2-4. That comes from last week's 56-10 win over Atlanta that might have been even more dominant than the score would show.

While it may be a stretch to say the Chiefs are happy to see Manning, Harrison and the rest of the Colts back at Arrowhead, there certainly is no fear factor.

“I think I can speak for everybody when I say we're ready for this game to get here,” defensive end Vonnie Holliday said. “We're a more confident team or at least a more confident defense now. We have faith in the guy leading us defensively right now. Last year, that might not have been the case.”

Holliday referred to new defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, who replaced the departed Greg Robinson. After a bumpy ride during the season's first two games, the Chiefs have responded to Cunningham's schemes.

The Chiefs held the Falcons to a mere field goal last week. Their touchdown came on a punt return. Defensive confidence for the Chiefs may be at a high since Vermeil joined the Chiefs in 2001.

“We're playing with a lot of confidence,” Cunningham said. “At the same time, it's still a young defensive football team and everything is still fragile.”

How fragile? The Chiefs would just as soon not find out.

But what happens if today's game begins like last year's, when the Colts were ahead 14-3 at the end of the first quarter? Or how about last week's start, when the Falcons drove for an opening field goal and then recovered a Priest Holmes fumble?

Are the Chiefs strong enough to fight back against a team that has been, for them, a perpetual bully? Or will the Chiefs unleash a collective sigh and mutter, “Here we go again?”

“Look at what happened in last week's game,” quarterback Trent Green said. “Look at what our defense did. That first drive happens. Michael (Vick) has those scrambles and he gets down there to first-and-goal and we end up stopping them and hold them to a field goal. Then we fumble on the very first play.

“But the defense stopped them and the offense got back on the field, and we drove down and scored. Because of that experience we won't be as quick to fall into that mindset. If it does happen against Indianapolis, we can say, ‘Hey, this is something we went through a week ago against Atlanta and we obviously … can get it done.”

Manning may be having the best season of his seven-year NFL career. He is the AFC leader by wide margins in passing efficiency (116.2) and touchdown passes (17).

Still, there's a sense among some Chiefs that he can't do to them what he did last year, which was not only lead the Colts to a score on every possession but complete 22 of 30 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns.

Manning came to Arrowhead that day with plenty of momentum from the previous week's playoff win over Denver. The Colts also never punted that day while Manning was 22 of 26 for 377 yards and five TDs in the blowout victory.

“It seemed that way, that it didn't matter what we did against them last year,” Holliday said. “It was just Peyton's day. He was in that zone and they were clicking.

“Peyton had two unbelievable games in the playoffs last year. I don't think he's had games like that back to back this year, but I know he has a pretty high quarterback rating. You would hope he would come in here and not have another one of those days.”

The Chiefs have a sense of being more in control of their own destiny against Manning and the Colts this time. They're certainly tired of hearing about last season's playoff failure and the domination by the Colts.

There's only one way to get that noise to stop.

“Things are just different this year,” cornerback Eric Warfield said. “You can count on certain guys being in their place to make plays. We feel a lot better about our ability to get the job done.

“We're ready to let the past go.”

tk13
10-31-2004, 01:06 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/10058203.htm

Defense talks big – seriously
Chiefs genuinely confident in new system

By IVAN CARTER
The Kansas City Star


The frustrated members of last season's Kansas City Chiefs defense put on a unified and brave front heading into last January's playoff meeting with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

But confidence in Greg Robinson's schemes disintegrated almost as fast as it took Manning to exploit a blown coverage and find slot receiver Brandon Stokley for a 29-yard touchdown on the game's opening drive.

From that point on, Manning was in a Michael Jordan-the-day-he-scored-63-points kind of groove, and the Chiefs were playing catch-up.

They never did.

But the vibe inside the Chiefs' locker room was different last week in preparation for today's rematch. Last season, defenders paid lip service to Robinson's defense but looked like kids who had been forced to eat brussels sprouts.

This season, players such as safety Greg Wesley, defensive tackle Ryan Sims and cornerbacks Eric Warfield and William Bartee expressed genuine confidence that this defense will do a better job against the Colts.

“We're playing a style that fits our skills, and we're being asked to do things we can do,” Warfield said. “That's why you're seeing better results.”

The Chiefs rank ninth in total defense, eighth in pass defense and 24th in rush defense. They have produced 17 sacks, seven interceptions, 26 tackles for loss and are allowing opponents to convert only 32.4 percent of third-down situations.

But statistics are not what stood out to Manning when he popped in game tape of the Chiefs last week.

“The first thing that jumps out is their effort and energy,” Manning said. “Just watching the Atlanta game, you see guys flying around the field. They show multiple looks every play. There are no rest plays where you know what guys are doing. (Greg) Wesley and (Jerome) Woods are very active coming up, moving around and things like that. It's a solid defense.”

The biggest difference between this Chiefs defense and last season's Chiefs defense according to Manning?

“They have a different defensive coordinator,” Manning said.

Gunther Cunningham's first task today will be figuring out when and how to create pressure on Manning, who is the AFC's highest-rated passer partly because he's been sacked only four times this season. In his last 86 games, Manning has been dropped an NFL-low 109 times.

The Chiefs did an excellent job creating pressure on Atlanta's Michael Vick last week partly because Vick appeared to have no idea when a blitz was coming or where it was coming from. Bartee came from the slot, Monty Beisel came from middle linebacker and Wesley and Woods came from the safety spots.

The key, according to defensive end Vonnie Holliday, is not tipping Manning off.

“Vick wasn't going to come up there, look at the defense and change what he was doing,” Holliday said. “Manning does that every play. If you show what you're in too early, he's going to adjust and attack you where you left an opening.”

That's exactly what Manning repeatedly did in last season's playoff game. The tone was set on the game's third play. On a third and 9 at the Indianapolis 31, Wesley and Scott Fujita came up the middle on a blitz but didn't get close to Manning. Manning made the Chiefs pay, finding Marvin Harrison for 12 yards.

Cunningham has his defense playing less zone on second and third down than did Robinson, a tactic that has been embraced by Warfield and Bartee. Warfield was frustrated at times in the past three seasons because Robinson's zone schemes didn't allow him to get up on the line of scrimmage and “get my hands on people.”

Bartee has also looked more comfortable in Cunningham's aggressive, man-to-man schemes, particularly in the slot, where he will play a key role matching up with the dangerous Stokley today.

Stokley is second on the Colts with 32 receptions, leads the team with 464 yards and has scored three touchdowns. He ranks third in the AFC with 11 third-down receptions

“I don't know what it is (about lining up in the slot), but I just like it,” Bartee said.

Another key for the Chiefs will be dealing with Colts running back Edgerrin James, who is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has scored five touchdowns. James is essential because he allows Manning to work the play-action passing game.

The Colts have the NFL's most efficient first-down offense, averaging a gaudy 6.72 yards per play.

“We have to control the line of scrimmage and make tackles to get them out of easy second and third downs,” Sims said. “Then, we have to get pressure up the middle on (Manning). He doesn't like to have guys around him when he's back there. We have to get to him, make him get rid of the ball and then let our guys make picks. It all works together.”

Will this Chiefs defense work today? At 2-4 with back-to-back road games next, the Chiefs need a win. To get it, the defense must do what it hasn't done in three seasons: come up big in a big game.

Rausch
10-31-2004, 01:10 AM
Uh oh, somebody learned how to putt...

Chiefs Pantalones
10-31-2004, 02:05 AM
"Peyton's jersey will get dirty, unlike that playoff game last year. The Chiefs defense will get to him."
--Len Dawson.

Len is pumped for this game. He said this tonight on the news. Sounded like he was ready to strap it on and get out there.

Rausch
10-31-2004, 02:46 AM
"Peyton's jersey will get dirty, unlike that playoff game last year. The Chiefs defense will get to him."
--Len Dawson.

Len is pumped for this game. He said this tonight on the news. Sounded like he was ready to strap it on and get out there.

I understand how you feel. You see, it's all very clear to me now. The whole thing. It's wonderful. Something WONDERFUL.

ZootedGranny
10-31-2004, 03:38 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/10058203.htm
Bartee has also looked more comfortable in Cunningham's aggressive, man-to-man schemes, particularly in the slot, where he will play a key role matching up with the dangerous Stokley today.

Stokley is second on the Colts with 32 receptions, leads the team with 464 yards and has scored three touchdowns. He ranks third in the AFC with 11 third-down receptions

“I don't know what it is (about lining up in the slot), but I just like it,” Bartee said.


Someone tell me that Battle won't be covering Reggie Wayne. Battle has the wheels to stay with him, but I'm not looking forward to that matchup.

PHOG
10-31-2004, 08:24 AM
Someone tell me that Battle won't be covering Reggie Wayne. Battle has the wheels to stay with him, but I'm not looking forward to that matchup.

No doubt....that was my thought too.

beer bacon
10-31-2004, 09:05 AM
Someone tell me that Battle won't be covering Reggie Wayne. Battle has the wheels to stay with him, but I'm not looking forward to that matchup.

We are screwed no matter what. Stokely and Wayne are both mismatches on Battle.

Deberg_1990
10-31-2004, 09:19 AM
We are screwed no matter what. Stokely and Wayne are both mismatches on Battle.

My guess, for about 90% of the time at least, would be Warfield on Harrison, Burntee on Wayne and Battle on Stokley. These guys will all get their grabs, there is no way to contain all 3 of them. Just keep them out of the endzone. Thats all i ask.

Chris Meck
10-31-2004, 09:23 AM
Good lord, why even play the game? Why not just forfeit?


We're so screwed. The Colts are going to go 16-0.

Oh...wait...I mean...ummmnnn....



Chris

ARROW2
10-31-2004, 09:34 AM
It's time to bust torso man up.

Rausch
10-31-2004, 09:37 AM
We are screwed no matter what. Stokely and Wayne are both mismatches on Battle.

And our offensive line is a mismatch against any pass rusher they have. Their defense is a mismatch for a championchip team.