Despite Losses, Chiefs Have Changed

With each loss, the Chiefs' losing streak mounts higher and higher, and that kind of burden can't be good for any team. With an undefeated Giants team coming in Sunday, and a possible 0-7 start staring them dead in the eye, what are Kansas City's players doing to battle self-doubt and depression?

"We're keeping each other's spirits up as far as just being around each other a lot more and doing activities outside this locker room, like as far as watching Monday Night Football and stuff like that," said Larry Johnson. "We're just all keeping focused, but at the same time we're trying to pick each other up and keep moving."

If this season continues at its current pace, with the losses far outweighing the wins, it will be reminiscent of the previous two years. Though there are several new faces in this locker room, there are several holdovers from those 2-14 and 4-12 teams. Even for some of them, this season feels different.

"The last couple (years) nobody wanted to do anything about it," said Johnson. "This year, I swear I was sitting right next to Monty Beisel. I'm not sitting next to him anymore. There were a lot of guys that I was sitting next to or seeing, saying hi to, and now they're not here no more. If anything, it's their dedication to always make this team better day in and day out, no matter who's involved or what's going down, you always see this team changing. From my perspective, this is the first time I've actually seen them try to do something right now about it instead of waiting for the draft or whatever."

There's been a lot written about how Todd Haley and Scott Pioli have brought in new players and shipped out old ones during the offseason and early this regular season. Haley's method of sending messages to his players through roster moves has been equally covered. Those messages are being received in the locker room.

"There was never that fear, most guys never had that fear," said Johnson. "I'd see it on guy's faces where they were just like, ‘Oh I'm going to be here. I'll just ride it out.' Even when Dick (Vermeil) and them was here, I used to see guys real, real comfortable, and I was like ‘Shoot, I wish I could be that comfortable.' In this business, it's a productive business, and you've always got to be ready, and if you don't produce, you've got to understand there's always going to be somebody to take your spot."

Is Johnson, the franchise running back who's creeping up on the club's record for all-time rushing yards, comfortable?

"I'm by no form comfortable," he said. "I already lost $3 million from that little deal, so I know I'm not comfortable. My reputation is on the line as far as being with this team, and I've always got to prove myself day in and day out. As you can see, there's already like three or four running backs already playing with me, so it's a situation where I'm never feeling like I'm comfortable."

If Chiefs fans have any hope for their team's chances against the Giants this weekend, the presence of Dwayne Bowe would go a long way. Bowe was back on the practice field Thursday after sitting out much of last week and the beginning of this week with a bad hamstring. It's unclear whether or not he'll get the green light to play Sunday against the Giants.

"He was out there today, which is better than yesterday," said Haley. "He moved around. Again, you've got to be very cautious with that type of injury, but he was markedly improved today. I was happy to see him out there and we'll see where he's at tomorrow."

With Kansas City's offensive line and running game struggling, the short hitch and slant routes, along with wide receiver screens, will surely be a large part of the Chiefs' offensive package this week. If Bowe does not suit up, that takes away quarterback Matt Cassel's biggest target on the perimeter.

"Dwayne Bowe's a big, physical receiver, and he's a guy that's proven he can play in the National Football League, and a guy that's got quite a bit of presence about himself," said Cassel. "Anytime he's on the field, he immediately helps us and gives us a boost. I don't know what the situation is with Dwayne this week, but hopefully he'll be out there."

Bowe was listed as a partial participant in Thursday's practice. If he plays Sunday, he'll be the first player to do so under Haley who hasn't participated in a Wednesday practice. Mark Bradley would start for Bowe once again. Haley said he was encouraged by Bradley's performance against the Eagles.

"You talk about taking shots down field," he said. "We took a shot down the field to get it to 14-7 versus pressure (against the Eagles), and Bradley made a big-time play. Those are the types of plays you need out of your receivers."

"Injuries are a part of the game. Guys are training, working, practicing their butts off to be ready for that opportunity. I think for the most part, Mark Bradley, I was encouraged about what he did in his opportunity to step in and play, and if he has to play a significant amount this week I would hope that he's getting better and would have a greater impact." Top Stories