2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Injuries, schedule key to charmed start for Chiefs

    2013-10-23 14:48

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Chiefs coach Andy Reid stepped to the podium Wednesday and, as usual, was about to begin his news conference by delivering a quick run-through of the injury report.

Then he stopped himself. He looked at his notes. He shrugged.

''We don't really have any injuries,'' he said. ''Everybody's going to practice today.''

Of course. That's the way things are going for the charmed Chiefs this season.

As teams across the league deal with devastating injuries to some of their best players - quarterback Sam Bradford in St. Louis, wide receiver Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis - unbeaten Kansas City has just about everyone healthy, just as it has most of the season.

Throw in a favorable schedule and a wave of key injuries to opponents, and it seems as if everything is lining up in the most splendid way imaginable for the Chiefs.

''This is a rough business. Injuries do take place. I get it. But we've been fortunate,'' Reid offered by way of an explanation. ''That's really what it is.''

The Chiefs have certainly had times where injuries stacked up. Just a couple of years back, running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry, both Pro Bowlers, went down with season-ending knee injuries a week apart, sending the team into a downward spiral.

Just about the worst thing to happen to the Chiefs this season has been injuries to a couple rookies who were likely to be backups: tight end Travis Kelce and safety Sanders Commings. Kelce is done for the year, but even Commings is due to come back from injured reserve soon.

''Some of it is chance,'' Reid said. ''Sometimes it comes in waves. That's how it works.''

It's not just that the Chiefs have been healthy; it's that their opponents have not.

Starting in Week 1, when Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert was dealing with a thumb injury, Kansas City has met teams in disarray. It was Ryan Fitzpatrick starting at quarterback for an injured Jake Locker in Tennessee, and Case Keenum making his first NFL start in place of Texans QB Matt Schaub in a 17-16 victory last week that ran the Chiefs' record to 7-0.

Not only was Schaub hurt before playing Kansas City, Texans running back Arian Foster went down on the first series of the game with a hamstring injury, and star linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season early in the second half with a major knee injury.

The trend of facing backups continues this week, too.

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski announced Wednesday that Jason Campbell will make his first start of the season in place of ineffective Brandon Weeden on Sunday. Weeden was already a replacement for Brian Hoyer, who sustained a season-ending knee injury Oct. 3.

''You go in every week respecting every opponent,'' linebacker Derrick Johnson said, ''but at the same time, we don't really care who plays as long as we execute our defensive scheme.''

Injuries to opponents such as Tennessee and Houston have softened the Chiefs' schedule, but it was already soft. The Jaguars are still winless after tying Kansas City for the NFL's worst record last year, and the Giants finally won a game this past week.

Altogether, teams the Chiefs have played this season are a combined 15-33, and all but the Cowboys have a losing record. Oakland and Houston each have just two wins.

''I mean, for us the bottom line is to win games,'' quarterback Alex Smith said. ''With that is to continue to get better as the season goes on, as the stage gets bigger.''

Regardless of the opponent.

The stage can only get bigger considering the high-profile games still on the docket. Among them are home-and-away matchups against the Broncos and Chargers, a game at Washington and one against the Colts, the only team to beat the Seahawks and Broncos this season.

Perhaps that's why nobody in the Kansas City locker room is celebrating the perfect start too much. They know plenty of tough opponents remain on the schedule.

They also know they've been leading a charmed existence so far.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Ryan SuccopSep 1 04:22p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent PK Ryan Succop (Chiefs) to an undisclosed deal and released PK Travis Coons Monday, Sept. 1.

Josh ScobeeSep 1 11:43a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring), DT Sen'Derrick Marks (shoulder), PK Josh Scobee (quadriceps) and OT Zane Beadles (undisclosed) are practicing Monday, Sept. 1.

Larry DonnellSep 1 11:43a

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell is the starting tight end on the team's unofficial depth chart. TE Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson are second- and third-string, respectively.

Quintin DempsSep 1 11:23a

New York Giants SS Quintin Demps is the lead kick returner, while WR Preston Parker is the lead punt returner.

Ben TateSep 1 10:52a

Cleveland Browns RB Ben Tate is expected to stay on the field on third downs, according to head coach Mike Pettine. This is good news for his PPR [ More ]

Charles BrownSep 1 10:43a

New York Giants OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) returned to practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Ahmad DixonSep 1 10:22a

The Dallas Cowboys released SS Ahmad Dixon.

Lonnie PryorSep 1 09:52a

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent FB Lonnie Pryor (Buccaneers) and OG D.J. Morrell (Rams) to the practice squad.

Tony HillsSep 1 09:32a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent LB David Hinds (Titans), TE Jacob Maxwell (Lions), CB Lowell Rose (Chargers) and WR Tommy Streeter (Buccaneers) to the practice squad. C Sam Brenner, [ More ]

Emil IgwenaguSep 1 03:53a

In addition to the previously announced signings of TE Michael Egnew and RB George Winn, the Detroit Lions inked OG Rodney Austin, FB Emil Igwenagu, S Nate Ness, WR [ More ]

Chase FordSep 1 03:42a

Nine players were signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Players joining the squad include RB Joe Banyard, WR Kain Colter, DT Isame Faciane, TE [ More ]

D.J. SmithSep 1 03:33a

The Carolina Panthers brought 10 players onto their practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Players signed were CB Carrington Byndom, LB Adarius Glanton, WR Tavarres King, SS Robert Lester, [ More ]

Trevin WadeSep 1 03:22a

The New Orleans Saints signed six players to their practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Signees include WR Brandon Coleman, CB Terrence Frederick, WR Seantavius Jones, OT Tavon Rooks, [ More ]

Champ BaileySep 1 02:52a

Although the New York Jets are in need of cornerbacks, they are unlikely to pursue free-agent CB Champ Bailey, who was cut by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, [ More ]

Dee MillinerSep 1 01:02a

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls and FS Antonio Allen could start at cornerback Week 1 because of the injury to CB Dee Milliner (ankle).

Jeromey ClarySep 1 12:23a

San Diego Chargers OG Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) underwent hip surgery around a week ago, and his status for the 2014 season is uncertain, according to sources. Clary has [ More ]

Ryan SuccopSep 1 12:12a

Free-agent PK Ryan Succop (Chiefs) is receiving significant interest from the Tennessee Titans and could sign with them as early as Monday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Kenjon BarnerSep 1 12:02a

Philadelphia Eagles RB Kenjon Barner (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Vincent BrownSep 1 12:02a

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

DeMarcus Van DykeAug 31 11:52p

Kansas City Chiefs CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jake StoneburnerAug 31 11:32p

Green Bay Packers TE Jake Stoneburner (undisclosed) and OT Aaron Adams (knee) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after they were waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

M.D. JenningsAug 31 11:22p

Chicago Bears FS M.D. Jennings (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Steve VallosAug 31 10:33p

The Tennessee Titans released C Steve Vallos Sunday, Aug. 31.

Damian WilliamsAug 31 10:22p

The Miami Dolphins released WR Damian Williams Sunday, Aug. 31.

Mike ThomasAug 31 10:12p

The Houston Texans released WR Mike Thomas Sunday, Aug. 31.

Duke IhenachoAug 31 09:53p

The Washington Redskins have claimed SS Duke Ihenacho off waivers from the Denver Broncos.

Brandon HarrisAug 31 09:53p

The Tennessee Titans have claimed WR T.J. Graham off waivers from the Buffalo Bills, WR Kris Durham from the Detroit Lions and CB Brandon Harris from the Houston Texans.

Garrett GilkeyAug 31 09:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have claimed OG Garrett Gilkey off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

MarQueis GrayAug 31 09:32p

The Minnesota Vikings have claimed TE MarQueis Gray off waivers from the Cleveland Browns and OT Michael X. Harris from the San Diego Chargers.

Brandian RossAug 31 09:22p

The Miami Dolphins have claimed CB Brandian Ross off waivers from the Oakland Raiders.

Mickey ShulerAug 31 09:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have claimed TE Mickey Shuler off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.

Damaris JohnsonAug 31 09:12p

The Houston Texans have claimed OT Jeff Adams off waivers from the Tennessee Titans, WR Damaris Johnson from the Philadelphia Eagles and CB Darryl Morris from the San Francisco 49ers.

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