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Decent Numbers Haven't Added Up for Chiefs

September 10, 2006|Sam Farmer

The Chiefs finished 10-6, yet failed to make the playoffs, becoming only the fourth team since 1990 to earn that dubious distinction. A year earlier, according to STATS LLC, the Chiefs were the first team in NFL history to average more than 30 points a game and still miss the playoffs.

It's not as if anyone is cutting them slack this season, either. They open with two monster challenges, facing 2005 playoff teams in the first two weeks: the Bengals and Broncos.

"I think it's great," said Herm Edwards, new coach of the Chiefs. "I think you find out a lot about your football team."

Harrison Is Eager to Go

Cincinnati's Carson Palmer isn't the only Pro Bowl player trying to work his way back from three torn knee ligaments. New England safety Rodney Harrison is too and says he's ready to play in today's opener against Buffalo. The real challenge for 33-year-old Harrison is getting back his playing stamina. But just having him around is an emotional boost for the Patriots.

Close to the Vest

Mike Shanahan has always been super secretive about injuries. Now, apparently, he's equally hush-hush about who's in his starting lineup. The Denver coach told reporters this week that for "tactical" reasons he wasn't going to name a starting running back among Mike Bell, Tatum Bell or Cedric Cobbs.

The football world will simply have to see what the Broncos do today against St. Louis. The speculation is that Mike Bell will start, Tatum Bell will rotate in quickly and Cobbs eventually will find his way onto the field.

Offensive Display

The last time Denver opened the season at St. Louis, it was the debut of since-fired Rams coach Mike Martz, and his team had 513 yards of offense in a 41-36 win.

Finding His Centers

Cleveland's Hank Fraley, just acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, is the sixth center quarterback Charlie Frye has worked with since the start of training camp July 26. That is not a misprint.

Colts Are Road-Worthy

When Indianapolis plays the New York Giants tonight, it will mark the seventh consecutive season the Colts have opened on the road. Not that they're complaining. They went 5-1 in their first six of those.

Raiders Aim for Target

After trading Doug Gabriel to the Patriots, the Raiders are looking for a receiver to start opposite Randy Moss on Monday against San Diego. The three leading candidates are recovering from injuries. Jerry Porter is recuperating from a calf injury he suffered at the start of training camp, Ronald Curry has spent the better part of a year battling back from a ruptured Achilles' tendon and Alvis Whitted is coming off a groin injury.

Receivers in Short Supply

New England is hurting for experienced receivers. Gabriel was an up-and-coming star for the Raiders, so adding him to the mix was a big move for the Patriots. But Tom Brady & Co. are still without rookie second-round pick Chad Jackson, who's out with a hamstring injury, and contract holdout Deion Branch.

Suggs Feels Refreshed

Miami is hoping to squeeze some productivity out of fragile running back Lee Suggs, who missed 23 games over three seasons with Cleveland because of injuries.

Suggs was traded to the New York Jets earlier this summer, sent back two days later when he failed a physical, and eventually waived by the Browns.

"It was the first time I ever got released from anything in my life, so it's just a horrible feeling," Suggs said. "I'm just really happy to get picked up. This is a fresh start for me. I feel refreshed and ready to go."

He's Not Charting Depth

Eric Mangini, first-year coach of the Jets, is so concerned about giving opponents the slightest hint of an edge, that he went the entire summer without releasing a legitimate depth chart. His was in alphabetical order.

When the Jets finally issued a depth chart this week, it contained the words "unofficial" and "compiled by the Jets' public relations department."

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