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Tribal Warfare
08-16-2011, 01:21 AM
Former Ravens bring history of winning to Chiefs (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/15/3078664/former-ravens-bring-history-of.html)
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

ST. JOSEPH | They walked up the hill together, former teammates one after the other. First, offensive tackle Jared Gaither and nose tackle Kelly Gregg. Quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn walked past later, and fullback Le’Ron McClain passed with a group of his new teammates.

The Chiefs’ new Baltimore infusion is noticeable, with a distinct Ravens flavor permeating the Chiefs’ free-agent class. In February, coach Todd Haley hired Zorn, who was the Ravens quarterbacks coach in 2010, months before the Chiefs began reuniting the three former Ravens teammates.

Perhaps the Chiefs’ playoff hangover was worse than anyone thought. After all, it was Baltimore that walloped them in the first round in January, a 30-7 loss in which the Chiefs were manhandled by a more physical team. When Haley and general manager Scott Pioli joined the Chiefs in 2009, it was thought that they would build their new team in the image of the New England Patriots, sprinkled with several of Haley’s former players at Arizona. Two seasons later, were the Chiefs ushering in a new emphasis: Baltimore Midwest?

Haley was asked Monday whether that playoff loss — and the time he had to stew over it — led to the team targeting the players that had, months earlier, given the Chiefs a beating at Arrowhead Stadium.

“A coincidence,” Haley said. “Now, again, if you’re able to acquire players that you think can fit with what you’re doing, and they’re coming from teams that are winning-type teams, I think that’s a good thing.”

Baltimore reached the playoffs seven times during 2000-10 and won the Super Bowl in 2000, when Gregg was on the practice squad. The Ravens also reached the AFC championship game in 2008, with McClain and Gaither having joined Gregg.

Gregg, 34, was brought in to replace Ron Edwards and is expected to mentor rookie Jerrell Powe on the finer points of how to play nose tackle. Gregg said he’ll take some of the lessons he learned in Baltimore with him to Kansas City.

“Where I’ve been,” he said, “we’ve always played good defense. I’m just looking forward to being part of the Chiefs, and we’re an up-and-coming team. … We’ve had a lot of success teamwise (in Baltimore), and there’s no reason why we can’t do that here.”

For his part, Haley said his team targeted the players more for how their individual abilities might help the Chiefs. Gaither, at 6 feet 9 and 340 pounds, is a mammoth lineman who spent the last two practice days working as the second-team left tackle. He added depth, size and talent — he was the Ravens’ starting left tackle in 2008-09 before a season-ending back injury last year — to a line that needed more of all three. He told reporters Monday evening that his back is “100 percent” and that he plans to be a starter.

McClain was an upgrade at fullback, and he also could steal carries from Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles. McClain was a Pro Bowler in 2008 and ’09. He said he learned toughness before his time in Baltimore, but during his four seasons there, it was refined.

“We just took that mentality every day,” he said. “That’s the mentality we’re going to have coming out here to KC: just being physical and being that demon on that field, just doing whatever we’ve got to do.

“I don’t think they’re trying to take anything from Baltimore or bring this over here; we’re Kansas City Chiefs, not Baltimore Ravens.”

Gaither said Monday that he has been leaning on Branden Albert, the Chiefs’ top left tackle, for advice more than his former teammates. He said having Gregg and McClain on the practice field eased his transition, but he’s looking toward to fitting in with his new team, rather than thinking about the years with his old one.

“They wanted me here,” Gaither said, “and I wanted to be here.”

Gregg and McClain joined practice Aug. 4, the earliest newly signed veterans could work out with their new teams under new rules of the collective-bargaining agreement. Gaither was in uniform during Friday’s preseason loss against Tampa Bay, but he didn’t play. His first practice was Sunday.

“I’m happy to have them all in here competing,” Haley said, “and I’m just trying to get them all up to speed so they can show us everything they have.”

Hog Farmer
08-16-2011, 04:01 AM
Breaston,Gaither,McClain,Gregg, Zorn. All solid moves.

kysirsoze
08-16-2011, 04:31 AM
Breaston,Gaither,McClain,Gregg, Zorn. All solid moves.

Wha??? Also, there's no hog sperm anywhere in this post. (I think.)

MahiMike
08-16-2011, 05:58 AM
"Gaither said he was leaning on Branden Albert." Ouch! I can't imagine going thru life at 6'9" 340.

Otter
08-16-2011, 07:40 AM
Breaston,Gaither,McClain,Gregg, Zorn. All solid moves.

I'm kind of curious why the Ravens got rid of McClain. Dude is 26 years old and has been solid from what I've read. Never been in trouble, not known as a locker room problem. Crazy stats for a fullback in 2008. And why did the Chiefs only sign him to a 1 years deal?

Something is fishy there.

boogblaster
08-16-2011, 09:25 AM
I'm kind of curious why the Ravens got rid of McClain. Dude is 26 years old and has been solid from what I've read. Never been in trouble, not known as a locker room problem. Crazy stats for a fullback in 2008. And why did the Chiefs only sign him to a 1 years deal?

Something is fishy there.

Prolly cause his sperm-count is low ....