Inside Slant: Barber Takes the Media to Town

Barber clearly knows the Chiefs defense can play better. They'll need to do just that down the stretch if they want to play at home in January.

Shawn Barber emerged from a marathon film review Monday -- "It takes longer to go through film when you play like we did," coach Dick Vermeil explained -- and declared that Kansas City's defenders would engage in no further public discussion of their dismal performance in their 45-27 kicking at the hands of Denver.

"As a defensive unit, we've chosen not to comment anymore about anything what happened this past weekend," Barber said after finding a media throng waiting to discuss how the Chiefs gave up a season-high 508 total yards -- 218 of it on rushing by Clinton Portis, who scored five touchdowns. "We're just looking forward to rebounding with a week of hard work and getting after Detroit.

"We may not talk to y'all the rest of the year because you're treating us so bad," the loquacious Barber added, his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. "I've had some deep thoughts on this. Y'all make it sound like 11-2 isn't a good thing, and I'm upset with you guys about that."

It was good, one supposes, to see Barber get his sense of humor back, even as some resentment slipped through. For no one in Kansas City's locker room found anything to smile about in the spanking they took at Denver.

The Broncos put up the biggest point total in Kansas City's 2 3/4 seasons under coach Dick Vermeil and defensive coordinator Greg Robinson. The Chiefs now have given up an average of 29 points a game in their last four outings, two of which they lost beginning with their initial setback of the season in Cincinnati.

In falling to 11-2 and falling a conference-record tiebreaker behind New England in the race for AFC home-field advantage, the Chiefs came to work on a Monday for only the second time this season determined to put the Denver debacle behind them. They will concentrate instead on improving in the season-ending three-game stretch run that begins this week at home against Detroit.

"One game isn't going to make us or break us," Barber added, turning serious just briefly. "If you let one game affect the next game, you're just adding more (to a problem) than there really is. We had a game where we didn't play well, so now we're moving on to the next."

If only it was that easy. The Chiefs now are giving up 146 rushing yards a game and 5.2 yards a rush -- the worst mark in the league. They came out of Sunday's embarrassment ranked 28th in total defense, though they remain only 16th points allowed -- a ranking that has been slipping steadily from a top 10 ranking at midseason.

"We had some of the same problems we've had when we won, but those problems are magnified when you lose," Vermeil said. "(Sunday), they were glaring. And Denver's a very good football that exposed our problems." Top Stories