Arrowhead Report: Thursday, December 2nd

Posted Dec 2, 2010

Charles still pushing for more, McCluster's ready to play and Cassel is humbled by league honor

Chiefs defensive lineman Shaun Smith, who is better known as “Deep Freeze” around Arrowhead these days, grabbed the microphone and joined the horde of media that surrounded RB Jamaal Charles’ locker. Charles was answering questions about rivalry, revenge and Kansas City’s place in the AFC West race. Then, it was Smith’s turn to ask a question.

How did it feel to pass the 1,000-yard rushing milestone last weekend?

"I don't want to stop at a thousand," Charles answered back. "I want to keep it going. It doesn't really mean anything to me, because I already did that already. I want more. A thousand yards is not enough for me. I want to keep it going. I know it's good to rush for (1,000) back-to-back, but I already did that. I'm just trying to get more."

Charles became the fastest player in franchise history to reach 1,000 rushing yards last weekend, doing it in only 158 carries. It took him 179 attempts last season.

In 2009, Charles became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,100 yards on fewer than 200 carries. It looks like he’ll break his own record this year with 1,021 yards on just 161 carries thus far.

“I don’t think there are many people that can run the way that he runs,” Coach Todd Haley said. “He just glides, he runs as fast and easy as I have ever seen anybody run. He is developing and he has worked hard at developing and it is not just his physical being, it is mental. Listening to Jamaal talk and what is important to him now, he has grown up before our eyes, much like a bunch of these guys. That is very fulfilling to us as coaches.”

Charles currently averages 6.3 yards per carry and leads the league with 32 runs of 10+ yards. He’s on yet another record pace and is still pushing for more as the team pushes for a postseason bid. His head coach also praised once of his perceived weaknesses on Thursday as well; pass blocking.

Right now, the only thing hampering Charles seems to be a 325-pound defensive lineman taking his goal line carries. After his one-yard plunge, “Deep Freeze” sits only two TDs behind Kansas City’s rushing leader.

“He might catch me,” Charles laughed.

McCluster Ready to Play

After sitting out for more than a month with an ankle injury, Chiefs rookie WR Dexter McCluster was close to playing last Sunday. He went through pregame warm-ups in Seattle before throwing on the sweats and standing on the sidelines 90 minutes prior to kickoff. His absence was a disappointment for many fans who had hoped to see McCluster return after participating in a full week of practice.

 McCluster said that he felt ready to go last Sunday, but that the Chiefs staff felt it was best to wait one more week.

“I expected to play last week, but that was the coaches call and we still won the game, so it really didn’t matter,” McCluster said.

McCluster was officially removed from the injury report on Wednesday afternoon, sending a clear signal that the offensive playmaker would be ready to return against Denver. Today, McCluster confirmed that he’ll be back on the field Sunday afternoon.

“I’m definitely ready to go after spending five weeks out,” McCluster said. “I’m all set and ready to go. I’ve been working on getting my wind back and now I’m just focusing on going out there and not making mistakes and playing fast.”

McCluster last played on October 24th against Jacksonville.

“I’m very eager to get back out there,” McCluster said.

Cassel Humbled by Award

Over the last 20 years, no Chiefs quarterback accomplished what Matt Cassel did on Thursday. By being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month, Cassel became the first Chiefs quarterback since Steve DeBerg win the honor. DeBerg did so in September of 1990.

“I think it’s a great accomplishment for this offense and also for this team,” Cassel said. “Football is such a team sport and it’s such a collective effort week-in and week-out. To accomplish the things that we have accomplished – I couldn’t have done any of this without the receivers, running backs and linemen.”

In the month of November, Cassel was 90-of-144 (62.5%) for 1,111 yards with 12 TDs and only 1 INT. His 12 TD passes were an NFL high and Cassel finished the month with a 111.2 quarterback rating.

Of those 90 completions, 37 went to WR Dwayne Bowe. Bowe finished November with 37 catches for 528 yards (14.3 avg.) and eight TDs. Those yardage and TD numbers led the NFL and put Bowe into AFC Offensive Player of the Month consideration as well.  Only Colts TE Jacob Tamme (38) had more receptions than Bowe in November.

“I’ll give Bowe as much of this award as he wants,” Cassel smiled.

Injury Report

Kendrick Lewis was added to the Chiefs injury report on Thursday afternoon with an ankle injury that kept him limited. Lewis has been active in each of the past two games, but missed the Chiefs previous meeting with the Broncos due to a hamstring injury. In fact, the Chiefs are 7-1 with Lewis in the lineup and 0-3 without him.

The rest of Kansas City’s injury report remained the same.

Jackie Bates (knee) was the only player held out of practice, while a hamstring injury continues to limit Brandon Flowers. Ryan Lilja has been slowed by a foot injury as well. Jon McGraw (head) practiced in full for the second straight day.

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