Rested Chiefs turn attention to playoffs
The Chiefs didn’t take any chances in a regular-season finale
that had no bearing on their playoff situation, resting virtually
all of their starters in an overtime loss to San Diego.
Now, it appears the Chiefs will be near full strength for the
first time in weeks when they visit the Indianapolis Colts for an
AFC wild-card playoff game on Saturday.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday that wide receiver Dwayne
Bowe was going through the protocol to clear him from a concussion
that he sustained against the Colts two weeks ago, while outside
linebacker Tamba Hali is making progress from inflammation in his
Fellow linebacker Justin Houston, who’s been out with a
dislocated elbow, and left tackle Branden Albert, who’s had a
hyperextended knee, are also expected back against the Colts.
”It’s the start of a new season. That’s how the playoffs
work,” Reid said. ”You’re in the dance, as they say. It’s another
phase of the season. You’ve worked very hard as a team to get into
this position. Now it’s important that you exhaust yourself to make
sure you’re right.”
At least in terms of health, the Chiefs are getting right at the
Bowe would not have been cleared to play in the 27-24 loss to
the Chargers, but Reid sounded optimistic Monday that he’ll be
ready to go against Indianapolis. The Chiefs’ top pass catcher was
hurt late in a 23-7 loss to the Colts at Arrowhead Stadium when he
landed on his neck.
Hali, meanwhile, developed some tenderness in his knee against
the Colts, and the team’s leading pass rusher was held out of
practice last week. Reid said Monday ”the inflammation in his knee
has gone down, and we’ll just see how he does tomorrow.”
The Chiefs are scheduled to have a full practice on Tuesday.
Houston and Albert both practiced fully last week, only to sit
out Sunday with a slew of other key players. Houston hasn’t played
since hurting his elbow against San Diego on Nov. 24, while Albert
hurt his knee the following week against Denver.
Reid also said that cornerback Sean Smith, who hurt his knee
Sunday, was doing fine when he arrived to the team’s practice
facility Monday. Right tackle Eric Fisher, who left the game and
has been dealing with shoulder injuries, is also expected to be
ready for the Colts.
”Obviously, guys are going to be feeling pretty fresh, so
that’s a good thing,” said quarterback Alex Smith, who was among
seven inactive for the Chargers game. ”It will really help us as
far as the week goes, having a great week of preparation.”
After going just 2-14 last season, the Chiefs fired coach Romeo
Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli and overhauled most of the
front office. Reid was brought in along with new GM John Dorsey,
and in short order they managed to change the entire culture of the
Kansas City raced to a 9-0 start fueled by an opportunistic
defense and spectacular special teams, only to struggle down the
stretch. The Chiefs will head into the playoffs having lost five of
their last seven games, including their first meeting with the
Reid was quick to point out that several of those were narrow
defeats, including a last-second loss to the Chargers at Arrowhead
Stadium and the overtime loss Sunday.
If that’s cause for concern, Reid wasn’t letting on. And in any
case, the fact that the Chiefs are headed on the road for their
wild-card game could be reason for optimism. They went against
conventional wisdom by going 6-2 on the road this season.
”I think the team has confidence they can go into another
stadium, loud – we faced Denver and it was loud – this will be
loud, and play good, solid and productive football,” Reid
Reid acknowledged speaking to his team on the plane returning
from San Diego on Sunday about the urgency that comes with the
postseason. The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game since the 1993
season, and 25 players on the 53-man roster have never participated
in a playoff game.
”The biggest thing you notice in the playoffs is everything is
a little bit faster, every step you take for some reason, it’s a
little faster,” Reid said, ”and I think both teams know it’s
single-elimination. That’s why the games are that way.”
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