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KC Chiefs Scouting Report


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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Like the Browns, the Kansas City Chiefs had one of those "bigger than it should've been" season openers Monday night.


Unlike the Browns, the Chiefs came through and finished the job, out-gutting the division rival San Diego Chargers in the driving rain, 21-14. It was their first victory in Game 1 since 2005.


Kansas City's opener was extraordinarily important for a variety of reasons.


The Chiefs, like most NFL teams, are experiencing slow ticket sales. They needed a good showing in the first real game of renovated Arrowhead Stadium to stir a buzz. Mission accomplished there. The revved-up crowd restored Arrowhead as one of the NFL's loudest stadiums, a distinction it lost after successive seasons of 4-12, 2-14 and 4-12.


Also, the team needed to perform to inspire confidence in the GM Scott Pioli-coach Todd Haley regime.


Pioli's fan-unfriendly methods learned under Bill Belichick did not go over well during his 4-12 debut season. But it will be easier to swallow if the team wins. Plus, the Chiefs got immediate dividends from a potentially banner rookie draft class, which will gain Pioli equity.


First draft pick Eric Berry has been a noticeable contributor in an improved run defense. Second-round pick Dexter McCluster broke a franchise record with a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown. Nickel back Javier Arenas, another second-round pick, also had two punt returns over 20 yards.


And tight end Tony Moeaki, a third-round pick, led the team in receptions and scored a touchdown in his first game.


There are still questions to be answered about the Chiefs, not the least of which is whether quarterback Matt Cassel is capable of being "the guy." Another one is whether the Chiefs can respond from an emotional, gut-wrenching win -- they preserved it with a four-play, goal-line stand at the end -- in a road game on a short work week.


But they are 1-0. And in the NFL, the statistics say that teams are twice as likely to make the playoffs when they're 1-0 than 0-1.




Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs


Sunday, 1 p.m., in Cleveland Browns Stadium


Record: 1-0


Last game: Beat Chargers, 21-14, Monday night, in Kansas City.


Coach: Todd Haley, 5-12, second year.


Series record: Browns lead, 10-9-2.


Last meeting: Browns won, 41-34, Dec. 20, in Kansas City.


League rankings: Offense is 29th (5th rushing, 31st passing), defense is 29th (18th rushing, 29th passing) and turnover differential is plus-1.


Offensive overview: They revealed little in preseason and rainy weather conditions Monday night further kept their plans under wraps. They are hamstrung, to a degree, by the continued slow development of their passing game. Quarterback Matt Cassel is still a work in progress and the lack of outside threats Retarded his growth last year. But they're enthused with having Charlie Weis, an experienced play-caller, at the throttle. For now, their offense would seem to focus around a sound ground game of veteran Thomas Jones and scatback Jamaal Charles and the threat of using rookie receiver Dexter McCluster in multiple roles. Charles' 56-yard TD run and a TD catch by rookie tight end Tony Moeaki were the extent of the offense Monday night. The Chiefs practiced McCluster in the WildDawg in training camp, but haven't shown it yet. He'll definitely be the "Dex Factor" of their offense.


Defensive overview: In new coordinator Romeo Crennel, they've added an experienced 3-4 disciple. Now they've got to fill in some pieces at nose tackle and with more speed. But it looks like they're on their way to fielding a better unit. Rookie Eric Berry had his NFL baptism Monday night, getting beat for a TD, but he'll help the run defense. Crennel's main project will be to swiftly develop ends Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey, and inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. Johnson fell out of favor last year, but looked poised for a big year in the win against San Diego. If Berry and fifth-round pick Kendrick Lewis mature quickly at safety, the secondary could be a strength. Corners Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are a good tandem and nickel back Javier Arenas, yet another rookie, can play, too.


Special teams overview: This unit gave up two 100-plus yard kickoff returns to Josh Cribbs last season. But they've added their own lightning. McCluster had a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. San Diego and Arenas added returns of 36 and 24 yards. The coverage units last year were great -- except against Josh Cribbs. Kicker Ryan Succop, Mr. Irrelevant in 2009, is coming off a good rookie season and punter Dustin Colquitt is solid, notwithstanding a 7-yard punt in the driving rain Monday night.


Players to watch:


• Running back Jamaal Charles: A game-breaker whose 658 yards over the last four games in 2009 led the NFL, though he was outshone by Jerome Harrison in their head-to-head meeting in December.


• Safety Eric Berry: The No. 5 overall pick in the 2010 draft had an active NFL debut, losing coverage on a long touchdown but also making an impact in the run defense.


• Receiver/returner Dexter McCluster: The pint-sized second-round pick paid instant dividends, returning a punt a franchise-record 94 yards for a touchdown in his debut. He'll develop into a multi-dimensional offensive game-breaker.


Injury report: DE Tyson Jackson (leg) had to leave the San Diego game.


Small world: General Manager Scott Pioli was a Browns scout from 1992-95 ... defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was Browns defensive coordinator in 2000 and head coach from 2005-08 ... Assistant head coach Maurice Carthon was Browns offensive coordinator 2005-06... defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant played for the Browns from 1990-95 ... Director of football administration Trip MacCracken is a Hudson native and worked for the Browns in different capacities from 1999-09 ... cornerback Travis Daniels played for the Browns in 2008 ... defensive lineman Shaun Smith played for the Browns 2007-08 ... receiver Chris Chambers attended Bedford High School ... linebacker Mike Vrabel attended Akron Walsh Jesuit High School and Ohio State.

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Here are some things to keep an eye on as the Browns and Chiefs play at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday afternoon.


The Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs will meet for the fifth time since 1999 on Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium. It will be the Chiefs first visit to Cleveland since December 3, 2006.


The Browns hold a 10-9-2 record against the Chiefs, including a 7-2-1 mark in home games. After losing the first two games against Kansas City following their return to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have won two straight meetings (31-28 in overtime in 2006 and 41-34 in 2009).


In last years meeting, running back Jerome Harrison and Joshua Cribbs both had record-breaking performances. They combined for 614 yards, the most single-game all-purpose yards by two teammates in NFL history. Jerry Rice and Dexter Carter of the San Francisco 49ers set the old mark of 550 yards on December 18, 1995.


As the game unfolds, here are several things to keep an eye on:


Cribbs. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns against the Chiefs last year, becoming the second player in NFL history to score two 100-yard return touchdowns in the same game. He also broke the NFL's record for most career kickoff return touchdowns and currently has eight in his career.


If Cribbs takes one kickoff return back for a touchdown Sunday, he will tie another NFL record. Cribbs would tie the mark for most kickoff return touchdowns against a single opponent. Tony Horne, Ollie Matson and Cribbs have all taken three kickoff returns back for touchdowns against one opponent. Horne burned the Atlanta Falcons for three, while Matson and Cribbs scored theirs against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


One return touchdown, on a punt or kickoff, would tie Cribbs with Chicago's Devin Hester for fourth on the all-time return touchdowns list.


Harrison. He ran for a team-best 286 yards and three touchdowns. The old record of 237 yards was twice set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown, first against the Los Angeles Rams on November 24, 1957 and then versus the Philadelphia Eagles on November 19, 1961. The biggest runs of Harrison's day both went for touchdowns. Harrison scored from 71 yards out after hurdling a defender and on the final touchdown of the game, he took a few extra seconds off the clock by running along the goal line before heading into the end zone.


In the opener last Sunday, Harrison ran for a team-high 52 yards on nine attempts.


Tight end Evan Moore. Moore caught three passes for 87 yards in the Browns' season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including a 49-yarder that helped quarterback Jake Delhomme eclipse the 20,000-yard mark for passing yards in his career.


Moore leads all NFL tight ends in receiving yards this season. Indianapolis Dallas Clark and Washington's Chris Cooley are tied for second. Each man has 80 receiving yards.


Offensive lineman Joe Thomas. Since he was taken with the No. 3 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Thomas has been the Browns rock along of the offensive line. He has been the starter at left tackle in each of his first 49 NFL games.


The Browns have given up just 73 sacks since drafting Thomas, the fourth-lowest total during that time.


Running back Peyton Hillis. In the season opener, Hillis ran for 41 yards on nine carries and added another 24 yards on four receptions. He scored the team's first rushing touchdown of the season in the second quarter.


Having spent the first two years of his career in Denver with the Broncos, Hillis is used to playing against the Chiefs. He has gained 105 yards on 15 carries and scored an 18-yard touchdown in the December 7, 2008 game.


Linebackers Marcus Benard and Matt Roth. Benard burst onto the scene during the final six games of the 2009 season by leading all Browns rookies with 3.5 quarterback sacks and he picked up last Sunday where he left off.


Benard registered a game-high 1.5 sacks of Josh Freeman and had three total tackles. He also returned a kickoff for 11 yards toward the end of the first half.


Roth, who had three tackles, including two solo stops last Sunday, is 3-1 lifetime against the Chiefs. He has two sacks and two fumble recoveries in those four games.


Kicker Phil Dawson. Dawson is six field goals away from passing Pro Football Hall of Famer, Lou Groza, for the Browns all-time record. Groza kicked 234 field goals in 17 seasons with the Browns (1950-59, 1961-67).


Dawson, third on the Browns all-time scoring list, needs just 42 more to reach 1,000 for his career.


Rookie defensive backs T.J. Ward and Joe Haden. Both first-year players started the Buccaneers last Sunday and made a bit of history in doing so. It was the first time the Browns had two rookie defensive backs start a season opener, dating back to 1970. Ward became the first Browns rookie to start at safety in the season opener since Brian Washington was given the opportunity to in 1988.


Ward led the Browns with 10 total tackles, had one forced fumble and made a stop on special teams.


Chiefs' running back Jamaal Charles. The third-year running back from The University of Texas gained 92 yards on just 11 carries in the Chiefs season opener Monday night against the San Diego Chargers. He averaged 8.4 yards-per-carry and scored on a 56-yard touchdown run.


Charles was the only Chiefs running back to gain 100 or more yards against the Browns during the teams four-game winning streak at the end of the 2009 season.


Rookie wide receiver Dexter McCluster. He gained a lot of attention with a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Chargers. In his first game as a professional, McCluster posted the second-best single-game punt return average at 33.33 yards-per-return.


Linebacker Derrick Johnson and safety Eric Berry. Johnson led the Chiefs with 11 solo and 12 total tackles Monday and also forced a fumble, while Berry tied for second on the team with six total stops.


The Browns (0-1) head into Sundays game looking to rebound from their 17-14 loss at the Buccaneers last Sunday. The Chiefs (1-0) come to town with a lot of momentum following their 21-14 home win over the San Diego Chargers Monday night.




Former Browns head coach Romeo Crennel is the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs. He held a 24-40 record with the Browns from 2005 through 2008. He was also the Browns defensive coordinator/defensive line coach during the 2000 season.


Chiefs assistant head coach Maurice Carthon was the Browns offensive coordinator in 2005 and 2006.


Chiefs defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant was a defensive end for the Browns from 1990-95.


Cornerback Travis Daniels (2008) and defensive lineman Shaun Smith (2007-08) are former members of the Browns.


Chiefs assistant offensive line coach Pat Perles coached at the University of Toledo while offensive quality control coach Nick Sirianni helped Mount Union College win back-to-back NCAA Division III championships and also assisted on their 2005 national title team.


Chiefs guard Andy Alleman is from Greentown, Ohio and went to The University of Akron, while wide receiver Chris Chambers hails from Bedford. Defensive tackle Ron Edwards is from Columbus and linebacker David Herron is a product of Warren G. Harding High School. Tight end Jake O'Connell played at Miami University and cornerback Donald Washington went to Ohio State. Linebacker Mike Vrabel is from Akron, graduated from Walsh Jesuit High School and played collegiately at Ohio State.


Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was a fifth round pick of the Chiefs during the 2002 NFL Draft. He spent the first three seasons of his NFL career with the Chiefs and registered 9.5 sacks during his time in Kansas City.

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Should definately be interesting.... We have made some upgrades, so have they. I think the return of RAC n Rolls to Cleveland will be the big one to watch here... It's going to be big plays like in the MNF game that win this one.... Will Harrison and Cribbs get the touches they need to make it happen?


i just hope the playcalling on offense isn't more of the same. jerome flat out needs more touches and he should be the starter getting the bulk of the carries. he earned that. the browns should give him atleast 18-20 carries.


the browns should bring in hillis to carry the ball occassionally and if the browns have the lead and need to run the clock out, increase hillis' carries. he needs to protect the ball better to. i'm sure they had him working on that in practice.


whomever the qb is for this sunday, i hope he gets to do more than the predictable plays. short passes with a whole lot of running=7 to 9 men stacked in the box on a regular basis. that aint going to beat nobody. vet qbs shouldn't have training wheels on their offense. and the browns oc and hc shouldn't make the opposing teams dc's job easier.


cribbs faced a good st coverage unit last week. i'm not sure how good kc's coverage unit is, but hopefully cribbs can atleast set the offense up with good field position. if he breaks one or a few to the house for 6, well, that wouldn't hurt either. B)

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If they're anything like last season, their ST coverage is mediocre to bad. Cribbs broke two last year didnt he in our game?


he sure did. i haven't heard anything about kc making improvements to their st. i guess we'll see tomorrow.


i won't say tomorrows game is a "must win" game, but i do think it's a "need to win" game.

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Nose tackle Shaun Rogers practiced after missing two days with a hip injury. Mangini believes the big man will play against the Chiefs. ... LB D'Qwell Jackson, who has been sidelined since Aug. 10 with a chest muscle injury, also returned to practice on a limited basis.

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