Fearless Prediction: Browns-Chiefs
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Rich Gannon)
KEYS TO THE GAME: Browns QB Brady Quinn lacks big-play
threats downfield, but he is doing a good job of managing games.
The Chiefs would like to see more of that out of their own young
quarterback, as Matt Cassel has taken 40 sacks while throwing 13
interceptions to go along with three fumbles. Both offenses will
also count on youth in the backfield. Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles is
coming off a career-best 143 rushing yards last Sunday, while the
Browns are using a tandem of Jerome Harrison and Chris Jennings.
FAST FACTS: Quinn has thrown 145 passes since his last
interception. … The Chiefs have given up 18 plays of 40-plus
- DE Robaire Smith missed practice for a second straight day
because of a groin injury.
- SS Ray Ventrone, the team’s special-teams ace, missed
practice again because of a finger injury.
- DE Kenyon Coleman was able to practice on a limited basis
despite a knee injury that prevented him from playing against the
Chargers and Steelers.
- WR/KR/PR Josh Cribbs was limited in practice with an ankle
- CB Eric Wright was limited in practice by a hamstring injury.
- LG Brian Waters was limited again during the Chiefs’ practice
Thursday, but it still sounds like he will play against Cleveland
on Sunday. Waters suffered a left hamstring injury last Sunday
and has been dressed and working with the offensive line but not
taking all the snaps and sitting out some of the drills. If
Waters can’t go, it looks like Andy Alleman will take his place
on the left side of the Chiefs’ offensive line.
- DE Glenn Dorsey was limited again during practice as the
Chiefs prepared for Sunday’s game against Cleveland. Dorsey was
dressed and took part in the practice but sat out some snaps and
some of the position drills. The Chiefs still expect Dorsey to be
available against the Browns.
- FS Jon McGraw was limited in practice by a hand injury he
suffered Sunday and a thigh problem that he’s been dealing with
for several weeks. McGraw figures to be available for full-time
duty against the Browns on Sunday.
- DE Wallace Gilberry was not limited at all in his work during
the Chiefs’ practice Thursday. Gilberry has a back injury that
kept him from taking part in all the work Wednesday. The same
sort of schedule went down last week with the injury and Gilberry
played on Sunday against Buffalo.
- CB Brandon Flowers continues to fight through a shoulder
injury that’s bothered him since the end of the preseason.
Flowers missed most of the practices last week, but still played
against Buffalo. This week he’s been full-go at practices and
barring a last minute setback, the Chiefs expect him to be ready
to play against Cleveland this Sunday.
- RB Dantrell Savage continues to have problems with an ankle
injury that he suffered on Nov. 15. Savage has missed the Chiefs’
last four games because of the problem. He was a full participant
in Wednesday’s practice, but was limited in his work during
Inside The Camps
The Browns are still courting Mike Holmgren to be their
director of football operations, but they are not ready to announce
his hiring quite yet.
Contrary to many reports, the Browns and Holmgren have not
discussed financial terms of a contract that would make Holmgren
top football executive, according to a Browns spokesman. One
figure that has been thrown around is Holmgren asking for $10
million a year to turn the Browns’ fortunes around as a football
“In terms of Holmgren, we had a productive visit over a
couple days,” Bill Bonsiewicz said Thursday morning before the
press conference of Coach Eric Mangini began. “He left yesterday.
We agreed to communicate in the coming days. We’re not getting into
specifics of what was discussed. The one thing we did not discuss
to this point was money.”
The announcement by the team’s vice president of
communications was the first time anyone in the Browns’ front
office other than Mangini talked about Holmgren’s visit to
Cleveland on Monday and Tuesday. And when Mangini was asked
questions the answers he gave were geared more toward how a
football czar would affect his future and what he thought of
Bonsiewicz revealing money was not discussed despite the
presence of Holmgren’s agent, Bob LaMonte, seems to put a damper on
reports Holmgren could be hired any day. Before the Browns could
hire Holmgren or anyone else on their short list they must
interview a minority candidate to comply with the Rooney Rule.
“We’re aware of the Rooney Rule and have been in contact
with the league office about it,” Bonsiewicz said.
In a twist that affects the Browns indirectly, Vinny Cerrato
resigned Thursday as executive vice president of football
operations. His replacement has already been hired — former
Buccaneers and Raiders general manager Bruce Allen. The Redskins
reportedly interviewed two unnamed minority candidates before
latching onto Allen.
The swift action in Washington means two things — a job
opening Holmgren might have been interested in is filled and Allen
is off the market for the job of football czar for the Browns.
If Seattle’s interest in Holmgren is lukewarm, as it appears
to be, Holmgren’s only options could be to work for the Browns or
sit out 2010 and wait for another opening next year.
Players are intrigued about the possibility of Holmgren
settling into the Browns’ front office. Holmgren coached the
Packers and Seahawks for a combined 17 years, made the playoffs 12
years, went to the Super Bowl three times and won it once. He was
general manager of the Seahawks as well as coach from 1999-2002. He
was relieved of his GM duties after the 2002 season and continued
coaching through 2008.
“I think he’s a good man,” said guard Floyd Womack, who
played for Holmgren for eight years in Seattle. “He’s been around
this league a while. He’s good at what he does.”
Left tackle Joe Thomas has an indirect connection with
Holmgren. Thomas grew up in Wisconsin and was 7 years old when
Holmgren was made coach of the Packers in 1992. He was 14 when
Holmgren left Green Bay for a bigger challenge and more power in
Seattle after taking the Packers to the Super Bowl twice.
“He won one Super Bowl and went to two others,” Thomas said.
“You’re going to be pretty well respected. They even named a street
While they were able to produce 354 yards — their
second-best yardage day of the 2009 season — the Chiefs were able
to score but 10 points and one touchdown last Sunday against
Buffalo. They turned the ball over four times. They allowed four
The Chiefs had 20 negative plays against the Bills, a number
they should reach over three or four games, not just one. They are
80 percent through their season and they are still making a
remarkable number of mistakes. That total of 20 included four
sacks, four interceptions, four offensive penalties, three passes
for minus-yardage and five running plays for minus-yards.
Essentially the Chiefs’ big offensive day came down to a
76-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles.
“Jamaal Charles continues to be a real bright spot for us,”
said coach Todd Haley. “I think there are a lot of good things
going on with him in the pass game and the run game, even in the
turnover situation when he made the tackle and forced the fumble.”
Charles’ long run allowed the Chiefs to put together one of
their best rushing performances of the season, yet they were not
able to consistently move the ball on the Buffalo side of the
field. They ran the ball 13 times on the Bills’ side of the 50-yard
line and gained just 35 yards, or 2.7 yards per carry. On their own
side of the 50, the Chiefs ran 13 times for 117 yards, or 9 yards
The KC defense got three turnovers and gave the ball to the
offense twice in Bills territory. The offense gained 24 yards, one
first down and no points from those opportunities.
“Offensively, we’ve got to capitalize on those turnovers,”
said Haley. “When we get the ball in those areas we’ve got to turn
it into points. We weren’t able to do that.”
The Chiefs’ offense has had more possessions than any other
team in the league with 166. They’ve scored — touchdown or field
goal — 38 times or 23 percent, well below the league average of 32
PREDICTION: Chiefs 20-16