Arrowhead Report: Thursday, October 14th

Posted Oct 14, 2010

LB Tamba Hali has the respect of the Chiefs locker room and the Kansas City fan base

When Chiefs LB Tamba Hali rose from a sack-and-strip of Peyton Manning last Sunday, TV cameras spotted the blood splattered across his jersey (as did photographers). The blood stains symbolize Hali’s style of play; a player that combines a relentless motor with a physical brand of football and a winning attitude.

That blood, in case you’re wondering, was his.

Hali pours it all into every Sunday. With 4.5 sacks on the season, Hali currently leads the Chiefs and ranks 4th in the AFC in that category. But sacks aren’t all that Hali has excelled at in 2010. The fifth-year player is one of a handful of defenders that almost never leaves the playing field. He’s turned into a complete player despite little more than a year of experience as an outside linebacker.

After making the switch from defensive end in 2009, Hali’s pass rush abilities always seemed to come natural. It was the little things that took time adapting to; intricacies like slow-playing backside rushing lanes, spot dropping into pass coverage or keeping tight ends and receivers from getting clean releases off the ball.

“Tamba is a great player who gives it his all, all of the time,” said new teammate Shaun Smith. “He’s a good player to play with. He knows all his stuff and, even though he caused a couple of plays last week, Tamba just wants to win.”

Hali’s attitude of doing whatever it takes to win is what Coach Todd Haley likes and Hali’s teammates respect most.

Take last week, for example, when the Chiefs asked Hali to put his hand in the ground and play similar style of football that his former role as a defensive end commanded.

Kansas City’s defensive game plan in Indy called for heavy doses of nickel and dime packages, meaning that just two defensive lineman would be in the game. Most of the time, this meant Glenn Dorsey and either Wallace Gilberry or Alex Magee paired together on the line. But the Chiefs weren’t only playing these sub-package sets in passing situations. This was the scheme played against Indy for nearly the entire game.

With Indianapolis tempted to run the football, Hali often times walked-up and played on the line of scrimmage. At times, he looked like he was back in the five-technique.

“Tamba last week, I didn’t talk about it much, but he’s in a two-gap position, didn’t get to practice it in individual and some of those things for obvious reasons but he went into that game and played a lot of that game as a two-gap end and battled it out,” Haley said. “Boy, he played one of the better games I’ve seen from anybody.”

Hali doesn’t talk much or command the spotlight after achieving accolades. He celebrates big plays with his teammates and that’s about it. Because of that, he’s one of the more anonymous game-changers in the National Football League.

That’s always seemed okay with Hali, because he’s always about team-first. Inside the Chiefs locker room, Hali is respected. It’s also apparent that he’s widely respected among the Kansas City fan base.

More important, however, is that Hali possesses many of the traits that the Chiefs are trying to become not only as a defense, but as a team as well.

Injury Report

Punter Dustin Colquitt returned to practice after staying away from team activities on Wednesday due to an illness. He was in full dress with the rest of his teammates. DE Tyson Jackson (knee) and T Ryan O’Callaghan (groin) continue to practice as full participants and S Reshard Langford (ankle) continues to be held out as he rehabs on the stationary bike.

The Texans, on the other hand, are not nearly as healthy as Kansas City. Head Coach Gary Kubiak joked with the Houston media yesterday about the high amount of injured Texans and things weren’t much better in South Texas today.

Houston had seven players sit out of practice on Thursday afternoon with the most notable being Pro Bowl DE Mario Williams (shoulder).

No Road TDs

Kansas City has yet to score an offensive touchdown on the road this season. They are the only team in the NFL yet to do so.

“A talented team goes on the road and wins,” rookie TE Tony Moeaki said. “It’s tough to play with the noise level, so scoring early and getting on them early is going to help your chance to win. We definitely want to do that.”

Luckily for the Chiefs, Houston averages just 19 points per game at Reliant Stadium and that includes a 34-point scoring output against Indianapolis in the season opener. Over their last two home games, the Texans have managed just two TDs and lost both contests by a combined score of 61-23.

Regardless, Red Zone scoring has become an emphasis for the Chiefs in addition to third-down efficiency. Kansas City’s only road touchdown this season was on a 33-yard interception return from CB Brandon Flowers at Cleveland.

One-Month Anniversary

Is this reason for celebration? I’m not sure, but I do think it’s noteworthy.

Tomorrow will mark one complete month since the Chiefs have made a roster move of any kind. On September 15th, Kansas City placed rookie LB Cameron Sheffield on injured reserve and signed veteran LB Charlie Anderson in his place.

Anderson appeared in his first game with the Chiefs last weekend in Indianapolis, playing on special teams.

Between Opening Day and October 15th last season, the Chiefs released five players, signed six, made a trade and placed one on injured reserve. As of now, Anderson’s signing and Sheffield’s injury designation represent the only two regular season roster moves.

Maybe the decline is a product of winning, or maybe it’s a sign that the Chiefs roster, from top-to-bottom, is becoming more what Haley and GM Scott Pioli envision. Maybe it’s a blend of both.

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