There aren’t many faces left from the 2008 Chiefs squad that was defeated 17-10 by the Patriots on Opening Day in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
To be exact, only 13 players who suited up for the Chiefs that day remain with the team. Of that total, 12 were active, eight were starters and six rookies were playing in their first NFL game.
Reflecting on these 13 names puts the Chiefs massive roster overhaul of the past three-plus years into perspective.
Current Chiefs who played against the Patriots in 2008 include: *WR
*indicates player who started against New England 9/7/08
“Looking at that team in 2008, Carr was a rookie, Flowers was a rookie – I mean, there were a lot of young people there that have developed and grown into amongst the best players in the league,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said earlier this week.
Most of the names listed above currently makeup Kansas City’s core group of players, but by all accounts the Chiefs overachieved against the Patriots in 2008.
More than half the players who wore an Arrowhead on their helmet that day are currently out of football altogether. Of the players still around, the majority were inexperienced and some admittedly star-struck playing against players like Patriots QB Tom Brady.
“I was like a little kid in that game,” remembered Carr, who made his NFL debut and first career start. “I was like that a lot of games that year, actually. It’s just guys that you’ve grown up trying to imitate these players. The opportunity to go out there and step on the field to play against (Brady) was like a dream come true.”
But despite butterflies that might as well have been Pterodactyls, and a roster in complete transition, the eventual 2-14 Chiefs came within five yards of knocking off a Patriots team that went 16-0 the season before.
Those who took part in that game remember it well, but say much has changed over the past four seasons.
“All that is gone,” Carr said. “All of that shellshock and the ‘playing against the famous’ things are gone. Now it is time for us to go out there and show the world that, yes we lost two games, but that’s not who we are. We’re still going to fight and we are still going to give it our all.
“We know that there are things stacked against us and that nobody really expects us to win this game, but you’d better believe that we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Cracking Brady’s Code
Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel knows the difficulties of preparing to face Patriots QB Tom Brady from first-hand experience.
Aside from serving as New England’s defensive coordinator during Brady’s first four seasons as a starting quarterback, Crennel has watched Brady carve up a defense from the opposing sideline as well.
It took more than two seasons after Crennel left the Patriots to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns for him and Brady to square off against one another, but Brady held the upper hand when they did.
New England rolled up more than 400 yards of total offense against a Browns team that won 10 games that year. Brady finished his day completing 22-of-38 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots cruised to a 34-17 home victory.
Regardless, Chiefs defenders say they’re relying on Crennel’s familiarity with Brady to create a game plan that takes advantage of any patterns Brady might show.
It’s a code, however, that even those once closely associated with Brady have struggled to crack.
“He breaks the pattern because they have so many targets that he can throw to,” Carr explained. “There are tight ends, receivers, running backs, Wes Welker in the slot…it’s going to be a challenge for us. It’s all about who can execute their game plan better. It’s a big game Monday night, primetime so they say.
“Our coaching staff will put us in a position to make plays and it’s up to use to execute and come away with the play or with the ball.”
The Chiefs downgraded safety Jon McGraw from full practice participation to limited work Friday afternoon as the veteran continues to rehab a shoulder injury suffered October 31st against San Diego. McGraw missed the Chiefs November 6th game against Miami because of the injury and played sparingly in last week’s loss to Denver.
Other than McGraw’s downgrade, the Chiefs injury report remained the same from Thursday’s list.
Chiefs Injury Report
DE Glenn Dorsey – Limited Practice (Knee)
CB Brandon Flowers – Limited Practice (Back)
CB Brandon Carr – Limited Practice (Ankle)
S Jon McGraw – Limited Practice (Shoulder)
Patriots Injury Report
New England added rookie LB Jeff Tarpinian to the injury report Friday afternoon because of illness. Outside of Tarpinian’s absence, each of the 17 players New England listed on Thursday’s injury report remained the same on Friday.
Did Not Practice: LB Jeff Tarpinian (Illness), LB Dane Fletcher (Thumb), CB Devin McCourty (Shoulder), LB Brandon Spikes (Knee)
Limited Practice: CB Kyle Arrington (Foot), S Patrick Chung (Foot), C Dan Connolly (Groin), DE Shaun Ellis (Rib), RB Kevin Faulk (Knee), RB BenJarvis Green-Ellis (Toe), LB Gary Guyton (Shoulder), S James Ihedigbo (Shoulder), WR Taylor Price (Hamstring), WR Matthew Slater (Shoulder), OT Nate Solder (Concussion), T Sebastian Vollmer (Back), G Brian Waters (Knee), WR Wes Welker (Knee)