Chiefs Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes

Me and my big mouth. Dick Vermeil, irate over the way opposing defenses have been holding tight end Tony Gonzalez (literally) while coming off the line of scrimmage, sought out referee Mike Carey to convey his concerns before Monday night's game in Oakland.

Vermeil asked Carey's crew to be extra watchful of the way Gonzalez was being defended. And they were.

Enough so that they called Gonzalez twice for offensive pass interference.

"I'm never going to say anything again," Vermeil groused.

Not that he could stay quiet for long, however, especially when discussing one ticky-tack foul in which Gonzalez was merely hand-fighting through press coverage.

"What they called on him the first time was embarrassing," he said. "It's embarrassing to the National Football League, it's embarrassing to Monday Night Football, it really is. It's absolutely ridiculous."

Equally odd is that Vermeil, who occasionally takes jabs at officiating crews, says that he's yet to be fined for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech.

"I don't think anybody gets upset if you just tell the truth without being critical," he said in a statement with which some fined players and coaches will disagree.

"Mike Pereira is doing a great job," Vermeil added of the league's supervisor of officials. "You can call him at any time and send him your report, and it's amazing how many times he'll say 'You're right.' We've had as many breaks in officiating as our opponents have had. I just think when you start manufacturing some penalties that don't exist that really confuses me."

Faced with a short work week after the Monday night win in Oakland, the Chiefs tried a different approach in preparing for the Bills.

He brought his players in on Tuesday afternoon , normally a day off for the players, - for some light running and individual lifting and film study. He then gave them Wednesday off. That's normally the important first day of practice, but Vermeil said he thought the rest would be better for his players than the practice.

"We'll cram three days of preparation into two on Thursday and Friday," he explained. "I just thought we would help keep them fresh and also help the coaches get better focus and preparation rather than rushing the process."

Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt had to miss the Oakland game, a rare occurrence, after undergoing prostate surgery the previous week in Houston.

Hunt, 71, began treatment for prostate cancer in 1998. He was thought to be in remission, but began a new round of chemotherapy treatments about six weeks ago.

"The family is very positive about the prognosis," said Chiefs team President Carl Peterson. "It was an extensive surgery. It was planned, something they had scheduled. According to the family, there's no reason for concern."

BY THE NUMBERS: Eight of nine are the number of times the home team has won in the Bills-Chiefs series since 1990. 125 -- the number of points given up by the Chiefs defense after seven games this year. 230 -- the number of points given up by the Chiefs after seven games last year. 20 -- KC's league-leading number of takeaways this year.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I haven't read any articles about our games. I haven't listened to any radio. I do listen to NPR (National Public Radio). They're having a fund-raising drive this week if any of you are in position to help."- Coach Dick Vermeil playing coy with the media.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL PERSONNEL/INJURY NOTES:

LB Shawn Barber appears to be OK after injuring a knee in the win over Oakland, where he continued to play after initially leaving the field with the injury.

QB Trent Green sustained a bruised knee against Oakland, but never left the game and is expected to be ready for Buffalo.

Dexter McCleon, who leads the team with four interceptions in his first season in Kansas City, is on the injury report as questionable but is expected to play against Buffalo.

DE R-Kal Truluck, a pass-rush specialist, could return to practice Thursday after missing the last two games with an ankle sprain. He is truly questionable for Buffalo.

LB Fred Jones is on the doubtful side of questionable with a sore foot.

GAME PLAN: Buffalo's Travis Henry is healthy again coming off a career-best 167-yard rushing game in the win over Washington, and this bodes ill for the beleaguered Chiefs' rushing defense. With Bills' WR Eric Moulds nursing a sore groin, Henry and the Bills newfound running game (it is ranked only No. 30 in total rushing) become crucial in this one.

The Buffalo defense is stronger against the pass (third) than the run (a decent 16), so the Chiefs need to get Priest Holmes (123 rushing last week in Oakland) rolling early to set up the play-action pass game at which Green is his best.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Bills punter Brian Moorman vs. Chiefs KR Dante Hall. Moorman ranks second in AFC gross and net punting behind only Oakland's Shane Lechler, whose punts contributed greatly in limiting Hall. But Lechler also helped set up a 44-yard TD drive when he got only 34 yards on an out-of-bounds punt from his own 10. Moorman must place his punts well to contain Hall.

Bills WR's Eric Moulds and Josh Reed vs. Chiefs CB Eric Warfield and Dexter McCleon. Both KC corners had picks against Oakland and need to continue that play so as to limit Drew Bledsoe's options.

INJURY IMPACT: Kansas City is in good shape, health-wise. Starting CB Dexter McCleon, listed as questionable with a thigh bruise, is expected to play. The same can't be said for reserve LB Fred Jones (questionable, foot). DE R-Kal Truluck (questionable, ankle) has missed the last two games, but the pass rush specialist was going to try to practice this week.


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