Chiefs using every angle to get ready for Manning

As a loyal Tennessee grad, Peyton Manning enjoys returning to

his roots and working out with the Volunteers.

It was during those friendly 7-on-7 drills back in Knoxville

that rookie safety Eric Berry learned a lesson that might work to

the advantage of the Kansas City Chiefs in Indianapolis this

week.

”Don’t bite on the pump fake,” Berry said with a big grin.

Sounds elementary. But the Chiefs (3-0) – the only unbeaten team

left in the NFL – are mining every possible avenue for every scrap

of information they can gather on the Colts quarterback, a

four-time NFL MVP.

That includes Chiefs coordinators Romeo Crennel and Charlie

Weis, who have compiled game plans against him, former Tennessee

players who have practiced with him and one-time teammates who

might have even a sliver of useful information.

”Any time you have resources that have played somewhere or

coaches that have happened to coach there or things like that, you

always try to go to all lengths to at least do some research,”

admitted Chiefs coach Todd Haley.

One of the most valuable members of the Chiefs this week could

be guard Ryan Lilja. He signed a free agent contract this year

after helping protect Manning’s blind side for six seasons.

”You get a guy like Ryan that’s into football and is a bright

guy, so he’s a good resource,” Haley said. ”But things change in

this league and rarely do you have somebody coming directly from

the team that you’re playing because each and every year is

different in the NFL and the teams change.

”I don’t know how much you can put into all those things. I

think that as coaches you try to cover, at least research any

opportunities or resources you have and you take it from

there.”

When Haley describes Manning as perhaps the greatest quarterback

ever, he gets no argument from his rookie safety. During those

drills back in Knoxville, Berry saw Manning do something that

amazed him.

”In any situation, he always competes,” he said. ”We had

three different offensive coordinators the three years I was there

and the wide receivers would have different plays and stuff like

that. But for some reason, every time he came back, it was like

they were on one accord, just working on all cylinders. It was

pretty cool.”

Going against Manning was a good education for a future NFL

safety.

”Got a lot of experience from him, a lot of knowledge from

him,” Berry said.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson has been happy to listen to anyone in

Kansas City with any information on Manning.

”You go directly to your sources,” he said. ”Even though the

Colts are a team that adjusts well when the play different teams

and they’ve got great schemes. We have other guys who have played

them and coaches who have coached against them. We know some of

their tendencies, so hopefully we can get a bead on some

things.

”But we’re going to need all the tips we can get to conquer

this one. Peyton’s the best quarterback in the league.”

If the Chiefs do conquer the Colts, it would suggest Kansas City

has truly emerged from a wicked three-year slosh among the league’s

bottom feeders.

It would also please Haley that their hard work was being

rewarded.

”This is a good group of guys,” he said. ”The reward to all

this sacrifice and work and lifting and running and sweat and blood

is that win on Sunday. We’re still in the foundation-laying of

this.

”I think it would be a real accomplishment for us, this

developing team, to go in there and be competitive against a team

like this.”