Defense Convinced it Can Fix Problems

After a lengthy film session reviewing the Broncos loss, to a man the defense believes that Kansas City rush defense can be solved.

The Chiefs spent a long day Monday -- only the second time they've not observed a Victory Monday day off -- studying film of the Denver debacle. Occasionally, a player would emerge from the defensive meeting room, glance at reporters waiting in the locker room and shake his head sadly.

"It takes longer to go through film when you play like we did," coach Dick Vermeil explained.

When the meeting broke up about 90 minutes late, several Chiefs emerged to say there was nothing broken that couldn't be fixed.

"One game isn't going to make us or break us," said defiant linebacker Shawn Barber. "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."

Barber, of course, knows full well that KC's defensive problems didn't start with the Denver loss.

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

The Chiefs are seeking a club-record 12th straight home victory Sunday when they face the Lions. The team has two 11-game winning streaks (1994-96 and 1997-98) before beginning its current 11-game streak against Oakland on Oct. 27, 2002. During the current streak the Chiefs have outscored opponents by an average 30.6 to 14.9.

Lions coach Steve Mariucci brought his 1997 San Francisco team to Arrowhead riding an 11-game winning streak. They left a 44-9 loser in Mariucci's only Arrowhead appearance. That Chiefs team went on to finish 13-3 and squander home-field advantage in the playoffs with a first-appearance game against Denver.

Vermeil, on what the Chiefs run defense could do to improve in the final three games of the year: "Don't play (Clinton) Portis again. That will help,"

With the Chiefs having clinched at least a wild-card berth in the playoffs, Vermeil becomes just the fourth coach in league history to take three different teams to the playoffs. The others are Chuck Knox (Rams, Bills, Seahawks), Dan Reeves (Broncos, Giants, Falcons) and Bill Parcells (Giants, Patriots, Jets). If Parcells' Cowboys qualify this year, he would be the first coach to take four different teams to the playoffs.

Vermeil expressed disappointment at Atlanta's firing of Reeves, saying the veteran coach had earned the right to finish the last three games of season.

"He's one of the most winning coaches in the league and he has the respect of every coach in the league," Vermeil said. "To see him fired now is very disappointing to the profession. With all he's given to the game, you would think they'd give him three more games.

"You know, I've got a Coach of the Year Trophy, my first one, and it had the name of every coach who'd won it prior to me. And every one of them has been fired at some time. It's something you come to expect."

The Chiefs have a 14-2 record against NFC opponents at Arrowhead since 1995. They are 14-1 against quarterbacks making their first appearance at Arrowhead, as Lions QB Joey Harrington will do this week. The last QB to win in his Arrowhead debut was Seattle's Jon Kitna in 1999. The Chiefs also have a 11-1 record when leading at halftime dating back to last season. The first loss came at Denver last week.

"We may not talk to y'all the rest of the year because you're treating us so bad. Y'all make it sound like 11-2 isn't a good thing, and I'm upset with you guys about that." Loquacious LB Shawn Barber, his tongue planted firmly in his cheek but still allowing some resentment to slip while addressing reports the day after KC's 45-27 loss to Denver. Top Stories