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C-Mac
11-19-2009, 01:08 PM
Longing For The Chance … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs (http://www.bobgretz.com/chiefs-football/longing-for-the-chance-%E2%80%A6-thursday-cup-o%E2%80%99chiefs.html#more-11628)
November 19, 2009 - Bob Gretz | Comments (23)

When Lance Long walks into the Chiefs locker room, there a sense of something out of place with his presence in the group.

NFL locker rooms are full of physical freaks. I’m not talking circus style freaks, but just remarkable physical specimens. There are little guys who have thigh muscles bigger around than some people’s waists. There are big guys who have enough fast twitch fibers in their body that they can run faster than guys who weigh 100 pounds less.

Lance Long just doesn’t fit. When he walks in the door you expect the security guard to come running in, grab him around the collar and escort him out as a trespasser.

It’s just that the Chiefs wide receiver looks so normal. The 24-year old native of Michigan is listed at 5-11, which is generous; maybe if he’s standing on his tiptoes. Long supposedly weighs 186 pounds, but he must have been weighed after a really big dinner, with a couple rocks in his pocket.

“I’m not the prototypical NFL wide receiver,” Long said with a smile.

But there he is in the Chiefs locker room, and there he is on the football field Sunday afternoon, getting more and more playing time in the Chiefs offense.

“It’s just been a true blessing what’s happened for me,” said Long. “Just to get an opportunity to come in and help the team out, to do whatever I can, whether it’s on offense or special teams. It’s been a lot of fun.

“I’m just trying to get better each day.”

The situation with the Chiefs offense all year has not been good. Nine games into the ‘09 season and this attack still has no identity. From week-to-week, players start and then are not active. It’s opportunity-central for any player who wants to work hard and long.

That’s Lance Long’s game. He will scare no one with his size. But he will work and work and work.

Todd Haley has noticed, Matt Cassel as well. That’s why in the three games he’s been on the active roster (he was promoted from the practice squad on October 25th) Long has been very active. Only Dwayne Bowe was the target for Cassel passes more often in the last three games than the 21 times the ball was thrown to Long. Bowe was a target 26 times. Both Long and Bowe caught 12 of those passes thrown to them in those games.

“Obviously the coaches noticed that he had a spark and he’s definitely got a great skill-set and a great skill level,” Cassel said of Long. “He prepares hard, he works hard, he’s diligent about what he does, and he came out and he performed. Anytime he gets open and I’m able to get him the ball, that’s a good thing.”

Haley talks about the “unique skills” that Long has. What are those abilities that make Long unusual?

“He’s a great slot receiver,” said Cassel. “He’s got tremendous quickness, he gets in and out of his breaks well, he catches the ball, he’s a tough guy – he’s not afraid to lay in a block on a linebacker or a safety. He’s a great player and he’s been helping us, there’s no doubt about that.”

Calling Long a “great player” at this point is a bit of a stretch. He’s still learning the game, making mistakes like he did against Jacksonville when he didn’t run out of bounds to stop the clock near the end of the first half.

But the fact he’s even on the field, participating and making contributions on the NFL level is amazing.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” Long said. “I knew my time was coming; I just had to be patient. I had to treat every day like it was my last day, but that’s nothing unusual. That’s the way I’ve been playing football for a long time.”

Long has been told many times that he was too small to make something of himself in football. He was the same size he is now when he played for the Eisenhower Eagles in Shelby Township just northwest of Detroit. His team played in the Michigan state title game in his junior and senior seasons, and in fact he caught three TD passes in a losing effort as a junior. As a senior, he caught 45 passes for 980 yards and eight touchdowns, while also contributing seven interceptions as a free safety.

He walked on at the University of Toledo, spending a red-shirt season there. Long transferred to Mississippi State, where he sat out the 2004 season and then played three years (2005-07). He appeared in 35 games, with just seven starts. He caught 46 passes for 321 yards and one TD. He also returned five kickoffs.

He signed for the 2008 season as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Arizona Cardinals and spent the year on the practice squad.

“Lance was a guy in Arizona that I think we got for about $500 right after the draft,” said Haley, who was the Cardinals offensive coordinator last year. “One of our coaches on the staff had been a college coach of his and he knew him. Lance doesn’t have a lot of college career catches but he knew him and said he would be a great guy for camp. He’ll come in and give you an honest day’s work and when the draft ends that’s always a tough deal where you’re scrambling trying to find enough guys. You have holes at certain spots. I really didn’t have any expectations for Lance and really tried to run him off for the first month or so. He’ll probably attest to that.

“But as time went on you could tell this guy wasn’t going away. His role early on and for most of the year was just a show-team player. But every day the guy made plays and the defense didn’t like him and you take notice. That’s the way guys make it and there’s never going to be a day he can ever take off. But he’s quick and he’s tough and he goes a hundred miles an hour all the time. That’s what got my attention. As we’ve said here, if we’ve got a chance to upgrade we’re going to do it every time we can.”

So what is Lance Long’s future with the Chiefs?

“I think he’s shown enough to continue trying to work him in,” Haley said on Wednesday. “He hasn’t been perfect, the out-of-bounds (play vs. Jacksonville) being a big thing and last game he missed a big block late in that game that might have given us a chance to keep the ball at the end. With each guy you’ve got to take in account all the variables and this is a guy who does not have a lot of experience. We’re trying to give him on-the-job experience; that’s the best way to describe him.”

Sure-Oz
11-19-2009, 01:14 PM
He's wes welker!!!!1111 cause hes small and white /ssj/

Mr. Laz
11-19-2009, 01:45 PM
he's had a few drops lately which is not going to help his case.

now he's drops weren't nearly as bad as Bowe's ... they were tough passes but he needs to catch them if he's going to overachieve.

Pestilence
11-19-2009, 01:47 PM
Sweet.....another feel good story. :spock:

rambleonthruthefog
11-19-2009, 01:52 PM
The "right 53"

wasi
11-19-2009, 01:56 PM
That diving TD catch Long ALMOST held onto reminded me of a similar Snoop Minnis catch earlier this decade. I hope he sticks around longer than Minnis did.

kcfanXIII
11-19-2009, 01:59 PM
i think kc has found their 2009 bobby sippio award winner.

Micjones
11-19-2009, 02:03 PM
It's no secret... I like this kid.
If he continues to improve we have an answer in the slot.
An answer that could prove to be productive.
He's got a 7-game audition for the long-term job.

RedThat
11-19-2009, 02:17 PM
It's no secret... I like this kid.
If he continues to improve we have an answer in the slot.
An answer that could prove to be productive.
He's got a 7-game audition for the long-term job.

Gotta love rooting for the underdog.

Chief Faithful
11-19-2009, 02:19 PM
Keep the feel good stories coming. Inventory is low these days.

Mr. Laz
11-19-2009, 02:20 PM
Gotta love rooting for the underdog.
nothing wrong with it despite how many smart ass people around here slam people for it.

kcfanXIII
11-19-2009, 02:27 PM
nothing wrong with it despite how many smart ass people around here slam people for it.

i don't really think there's anything wrong with it, in fact i'm guilty too. but we do have a tradition of sorts, as a fan base in general of rooting for the under dog. grigsby, scanlon, mazlowski, thigpen, sippio, hell i remember seeing sean lachapelle when i was a kid, and remember thinking "i hope he makes it. what a great story." kansas city is often seen as an underdog, in many ways not just football, so our people want to see an underdog do well. just my theory why every year we get excited about some no name scurb who is playing above their talent level, like we're gonna walk up to new york or boston and say "see, the underdog can win sometimes."

Micjones
11-19-2009, 02:28 PM
Gotta love rooting for the underdog.

He's not as big a longshot as everyone thinks.
He's already produced on the field.
The key, for him, is to continue to improve and play SMART football.
If he can do that... He'll be an asset to this team.

Micjones
11-19-2009, 02:29 PM
i don't really think there's anything wrong with it, in fact i'm guilty too. but we do have a tradition of sorts, as a fan base in general of rooting for the under dog. grigsby, scanlon, mazlowski, thigpen, sippio, hell i remember seeing sean lachapelle when i was a kid, and remember thinking "i hope he makes it. what a great story." kansas city is often seen as an underdog, in many ways not just football, so our people want to see an underdog do well. just my theory why every year we get excited about some no name scurb who is playing above their talent level.

It's not unique to Kansas City. Every team has a Lance Long.

RedThat
11-19-2009, 02:37 PM
He's not as big a longshot as everyone thinks.
He's already produced on the field.
The key, for him, is to continue to improve and play SMART football.
If he can do that... He'll be an asset to this team.

Yup I agree. He's been pretty productive on the field.

From the sounds of it, it seems as if this kid has the work ethic and desire to succeed. He keeps that in check, and the rest will take care of itself.

kcfanXIII
11-19-2009, 02:37 PM
It's not unique to Kansas City. Every team has a Lance Long.

but do other cities get a new long/thigpen/sippio/grigsby/scanlin/maz/chapelle every year?

Mr. Laz
11-19-2009, 02:44 PM
but do other cities get a new long/thigpen/sippio/grigsby/scanlin/maz/chapelle every year?
so what ... the team has suck so bad for so many years it's bound to create more need for the underdog.

i don't understand why some people are so hostile about it.

milkman
11-19-2009, 02:56 PM
so what ... the team has suck so bad for so many years it's bound to create more need for the underdog.

i don't understand why some people are so hostile about it.

I have no peoblem with the idea of rootig for the underdog.

However, if there's a more talented guy in teh same position that works every bit as hard, thenI'm going to root for him as well.

In this case, while Lance Long works hard and is giving us some productivity, I see Quinten Lawrence as a guy with more talent, who with hard work would produce at a higher level.

If we were to draft a guy like Mardy Gilyard, even better.

Mr. Laz
11-19-2009, 03:22 PM
I have no peoblem with the idea of rootig for the underdog.

However, if there's a more talented guy in teh same position that works every bit as hard, thenI'm going to root for him as well.

In this case, while Lance Long works hard and is giving us some productivity, I see Quinten Lawrence as a guy with more talent, who with hard work would produce at a higher level.

If we were to draft a guy like Mardy Gilyard, even better.
so fine ... root for your guy and let other people root for whomever.

no need to slam anyone either way

Demonpenz
11-19-2009, 03:28 PM
he's the poor mans wes welker, for anyone who hasn't seen him play

Fish
11-19-2009, 03:30 PM
Marc Boerigter was better...........

Chocolate Hog
11-19-2009, 03:41 PM
It's no secret... I like this kid.
If he continues to improve we have an answer in the slot.
An answer that could prove to be productive.
He's got a 7-game audition for the long-term job.

Mark Bradley is the answer to the slot. Bowe/chamber/Bradley. Lance Long sucks and now we know why Arizona released him.

Direckshun
11-19-2009, 03:45 PM
Long literally has zero size and no speed. He's the Dantrell Savage of the WR corps, only he's got no moves to go along with it. Hard to deny the guy his heart.

He's always wide open because he is never a threat with the ball. He has been targeted consistently because teams bracket everybody else, knowing he is not a threat.

Chocolate Hog
11-19-2009, 03:47 PM
He also has no football knowledge like the play vs Jacksonville where he stayed in bounds and led to a FG that was almost returned for a TD.

Marcellus
11-19-2009, 03:53 PM
He's always wide open because he is never a threat with the ball. He has been targeted consistently because teams bracket everybody else, knowing he is not a threat.

Does it really matter as long as he catches the ball when he is wide open all the time?

Also I was lead to believe that Long was being targeted more than Bowe. I guess that is another CP fallacy.

Todd Haley has noticed, Matt Cassel as well. That’s why in the three games he’s been on the active roster (he was promoted from the practice squad on October 25th) Long has been very active. Only Dwayne Bowe was the target for Cassel passes more often in the last three games than the 21 times the ball was thrown to Long. Bowe was a target 26 times. Both Long and Bowe caught 12 of those passes thrown to them in those games.

Marcellus
11-19-2009, 03:56 PM
He also has no football knowledge like the play vs Jacksonville where he stayed in bounds and led to a FG that was almost returned for a TD.

He is not Wes Welker, he is not Ed McCaffrey but the guy is an NFL player, you say he has no football knowledge like he is stooopid. He did fuck up on that play but many players have made that mistake.

Seriously if the 2 of you were given an IQ test I would bet my mortgage on the outcome and you can bet your ass I am not betting on you.

MahiMike
11-19-2009, 03:59 PM
i don't really think there's anything wrong with it, in fact i'm guilty too. but we do have a tradition of sorts, as a fan base in general of rooting for the under dog. grigsby, scanlon, mazlowski, thigpen, sippio, hell i remember seeing sean lachapelle when i was a kid, and remember thinking "i hope he makes it. what a great story." kansas city is often seen as an underdog, in many ways not just football, so our people want to see an underdog do well. just my theory why every year we get excited about some no name scurb who is playing above their talent level, like we're gonna walk up to new york or boston and say "see, the underdog can win sometimes."

That's true. I'm always pulling for the underdog in any contest I have no other stake in. I hate perennial winners.

LaChapelle
11-19-2009, 04:03 PM
I thought he was Haley's Jeff Webb
but he's not a son of a friend of the Haley clan, so never mind

Dante84
11-19-2009, 04:04 PM
The white 5'3"

Marcellus
11-19-2009, 04:05 PM
No Wayne Chrebet comments. Man this place has lost its burst.

Marcellus
11-19-2009, 04:06 PM
The white 5'3"

ROFL

That was funny.

mikey23545
11-19-2009, 04:06 PM
He also has no football knowledge like the play vs Jacksonville where he stayed in bounds and led to a FG that was almost returned for a TD.

Not everyone can possess your towering intellect.

DaKernal
11-19-2009, 04:07 PM
Lance Long will be the unsung hero in our upset over the Steelers this sunday!!!!:)

Davechief
11-19-2009, 04:28 PM
but do other cities get a new long/thigpen/sippio/grigsby/scanlin/maz/chapelle every year?

You forgot Brian Shay;)

The Bad Guy
11-19-2009, 04:31 PM
nothing wrong with it despite how many smart ass people around here slam people for it.

OH NOESSSSSSSSS LANCE LONG HAD 8 TARGETS!!!!!!!!!!

Buehler445
11-19-2009, 05:20 PM
If Long can turn into Welker, good. But I doubt it. Very seriously. I'm disappointed Lawrence hasn't gotten more looks. This is a good year to try to get him to develop. Dude's got wheels.
Posted via Mobile Device

Marcellus
11-19-2009, 05:22 PM
If Long can turn into Welker, good. But I doubt it. Very seriously. I'm disappointed Lawrence hasn't gotten more looks. This is a good year to try to get him to develop. Dude's got wheels.
Posted via Mobile Device

He is developing on the PS.

Not a huge surprise he wasn't picked up when we cut him.

Chocolate Hog
11-19-2009, 05:23 PM
Not everyone can possess your towering intellect.

Another butthurt follower