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
”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
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
”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
Going against Manning was a good education for a future NFL
”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
”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
It would also please Haley that their hard work was being
”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
”I think it would be a real accomplishment for us, this
developing team, to go in there and be competitive against a team