Kansas City Faces Chargers in Game of Pride

One afternoon and counting for the Kansas City Chiefs who were eliminated from a remote playoff chance last week when the Broncos defeated the Tennessee Titans 37-16. Today's contest against the San Diego Chargers will be a key game for the veterans; who will be fighting for roster spots next season. With that said, Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil has one final game to evaluate which players will remain on the roster in 2005.

This game could mark the final time Kansas City fans see running back Priest Holmes on the sideline. The veteran could be traded in the off-season and despite his claims to return to the Chiefs in 2005, rumblings around the Chiefs indicate that he's not as solid about returning as he claims. Still those are rumors and Larry Johnson will continue to get the opportunity to show his merits today against San Diego. As for Holmes on Thursday he was named the Ed Block Courage Award winner.

There also might be wholesale changes on the defensive side of the ball. Many veterans could be let go after the Super Bowl. A game the Chiefs had talked about playing since their loss to the Indianapolis Colts last season in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

"We stopped the run much better." Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said about the transition from last season to this year. "Now, that may be because the ball control of our offense was much better than it was last year, so they defended fewer plays. But I think overall the front down-four played better than it did a year ago. The addition of Jared Allen was a really a pleasant addition. For a fourth round pick it was a surprise that he was a starter."

For the Chargers they have secured the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs, after their overtime loss to the Colts last week. If San Diego would have won last weekend they would have jumped to the third seed in the playoffs. Still San Diego has made the playoffs for the first time since 1995; which was the same year they went to the Super Bowl.

"They (San Diego) really made some dramatic moves on defense and their new defensive coordinator did an outstanding job." Vermeil said, "(Marty) got rid of some guys who were not good locker room guys and it cost him some dead money. But it cleaned up the morale of the organization. (Antonio) Gates, the great big tight end, has made a tremendous contribution."

The Chiefs and Chargers met on the last Sunday in November in Kansas City, when San Diego came away with the 34-31 win. That was the Chiefs last loss, as they are now looking to end the season on a five game winning streak to climb back to .500. If the Chiefs could have earned two more victories this season, a win today would have locked up a playoff spot.

"Every team's got to have their own approach." Quarterback Trent Green said about the Chargers resting players, "I answered this question yesterday with the San Diego media because they were asking me ‘How do you determine (when it's appropriate to take players out of the game)?' I think every organization, every coach and players have to decide that on their own."

Chiefs will now look forward to April when they are able to get a middle first round draft choice. As it looks right now Kansas City will more than likely look for a player or two that can upgrade the secondary, an impact linebacker or a pass rushing defensive end.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories