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How are the Chiefs Finding Success with so Many Key Injuries? The Answer.

Despite numerous key injuries, the Chiefs keep winning

It sounds simple.

The coaching staff trusts the personnel staff to bring in good players, while the personnel staff trusts the coaches to get the most out of the players they bring into the mix. 

That's how NFL teams operate, and it's not always a healthy atmosphere.

"Sometimes egos get involved with that," Chiefs coach Andy Reid explained on Monday. "The personnel guy might like somebody and then the coach goes, 'Oh, I didn't really like that guy.' Then they try to slight that, but we haven't had any of that (in Kansas City).

"It's just been a good relationship that way."

Heading into the 2015 season, the Chiefs figured they would be counting on production from Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston, Husain Abdullah, Ben Grubbs, Phillip Gaines, Allen Bailey, Mitch Morse, De'Anthony Thomas and Jeff Allen.

Besides Allen, who left after just seven snaps on Sunday with a re-aggravated ankle injury, the rest of these guys weren't suited up for Sunday's 34-20 win over the Raiders.

That's eight players.

With 22 total starters (11 on each side), and expanding that to 30 or so guys counted on for "considerable action," particularly the likes of Houston and Charles, the Chiefs were missing at least a quarter of the personnel they had been counting on when the season began on Sunday.

Looking at it this way, the performance against an improved Raiders team becomes that much more impressive.

Now, it's not necessarily unique as all NFL teams deal with injuries, but in turn, not all NFL teams have won six straight—the best streak currently in the AFC.

Led by these two groups working together, the Chiefs just keep moving forward and winning on the field by trusting one another to put each other in the best situation possible.

The Chiefs have used the "next man up" philosophy, needing more snaps from guys who are already counted upon, like veteran Tamba Hali, who played at least 90 percent of the defensive snaps for the third consecutive game here in his 10th NFL season.

Whether it's veteran Frank Zombo stepping in and picking up 3 sacks over the past two weeks with Houston down, Jah Reid holding down the right tackle spot after signing just days before the season began, or the re-signing of Ron Parker this past offseason and his move from safety back to cornerback, the moves aren't always flashy.


When answers for how this is all possible—six straight wins, from 1-5 to 7-5—with the word "playoffs" not getting you a nasty look from a friend thinking you've lost your mind, the answer can be found in the details.

First, Reid and general manager John Dorsey are in constant communication.

"We talk every day, probably several times a day," Reid explained. "Our offices are right next to each other, so it makes it easy. He's got a board in his room and I've got a board in my room, and he keeps me abreast of everything that he's thinking about and doing—full credit goes to him on that.

"Without him and his guys there, this thing doesn't work the way it's working."

Looking back now at the signings of running backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware over the past couple of years, it's amazing to see how it's all come together up to this point.

These two have formed a dynamic running back tandem and really filled the void after a season-ending injury to Jamaal Charles back in Week 5 against the Chicago Bears.

Plus the decision to sign Jeremy Maclin to a lucrative multi-year deal over the offseason—all of these kinds of decisions are working out. The impact Maclin and fellow veteran Jason Avant have had on this young receiving corps can't be quantified, even though the 18 receptions for 255 yards and 3 touchdowns for him over the past two games can be.

Maclin has brought leadership and an edge to that group.

But the other side of this coin is the guys working with these players every day out on the field. The coordinators and positional coaches that don't normally hear their names called on Sundays but whose hard work and dedication is directly represented by the way the guys play on the field every week.

Photos from the Chiefs Week 13 matchup against the Raiders

Reid spoke about this on Monday.

"[Offensive coordinator] Doug (Pederson) unfortunately gets pushed under the bus a little bit because I'm an offensive guy," Reid explained, "but I don't want to slight him at all. We have great communication there and I have full confidence with Doug calling plays.

"If I get into a slump, [Pederson] jumps in and (spread game analyst) Brad Childress—these guys, we're fully loaded there. Doug has done a phenomenal, phenomenal job and I don't want that to get slighted in this whole thing—sometimes that happens.

"I coached for an offensive coach with Mike Holmgren, and Mike was so good about making sure that people who were truly involved didn't get slighted."

The same can be said for the other side of the ball as well.

"[Defensive coordinator] Bob Sutton is doing a good job and [special teams coordinator] (Dave) Toub— that's where it starts—you take those good players that John's giving you and you make sure that you get them reps."

The coaching staff has done that and they have full trust in the players given to them by the personnel staff, led by Dorsey.

"Our guys are 'Hey, whatever John brings in,'" Reid explained. "[Dorsey] sits in all our meetings so he knows what we're saying. Whatever John brings in, we're going to coach the dog out of those guys.

"That's a tribute to the guys. It's an important thing."

It's not just an important thing; it's the thing that's put the Chiefs in a position to win these past six games, despite missing more than a quarter of the players they had initially counted on when the season began.

To overcome that and find this kind of success, it's truly a group effort between the personnel guys, the coaches and then the players out there performing. The culture is one of winning, trust and respect—a pretty good recipe for success.

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