Issues Surrounding The Chiefs: Week 6

This week Michael Ash discusses trade rumors, Joey Galloway and San Diego's defense.

We need closure on the rumors circulating around Kansas City this week.

Amidst reports that nearly any player on the Chiefs' roster could be available before Tuesday's trading deadline, most of the speculation centered on Dwayne Bowe. A segment on ESPN where Adam Schefter proposed five fictional trades included the idea of Bowe going to the Ravens for second- and fifth-round picks in next year's draft.

Despite the nature of the segment – Schefter was merely suggesting trades he thought should happen – message boards in Kansas City and particularly Baltimore began blowing up with claims that Bowe had been traded.

The bogus news quickly found its way to Wikipedia, where Bowe's entry was updated to reflect his move to Baltimore. From there, subsequent phony trades appeared, with Bowe being traded to Minnesota, Miami, and Dallas.

Perhaps duped by the Wikipedia edits, a Florida radio host posted a Bowe-to-Miami rumor on his Twitter page late Monday night, citing compensation similar to what appeared on the bogus Dolphins-related entries on Bowe's Wiki page.

Those examples are just a sample of the nonsense that's been floating around this past week. Seemingly lost in the endless flow of make-believe, however, was a Sunday report from Schefter which stated emphatically that, despite interest from other teams, the Chiefs had no intention of trading Bowe or fellow LSU alum Glenn Dorsey.

But where does the truth lie? With the trade deadline having passed, we obviously know that Bowe – and everyone else on the roster except Tank Tyler – will remain in Kansas City. But for all the smoke, was there ever actually a fire?

Did the Chiefs shop Bowe around the league and simply didn't get what they were looking for in return? Or did they ever really have designs on shipping him out, barring a team blowing them away with an offer?

Most of the trade speculation involving Bowe appeared to be rooted in the outdated notion that the Chiefs' top receiver is taking up residence in head coach Todd Haley's doghouse. Bowe's brief training camp demotion was over two months ago, and – unlike, say, Derrick Johnson – Bowe has remained a starter all season. For those reasons alone, it's time to put the "doghouse" talk to rest.

But the bigger picture, as Bowe himself appears to be realizing, suggests that Haley is harder on Bowe because he expects so much more from him. Haley's relationship with Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald has been well-documented, and one can only assume that Haley pushes Bowe so hard because he sees similar potential. Indeed, after Sunday's win in Washington, Haley remarked that there's "no limit" to what Bowe is capable of.

There's a world of difference between a player being in a coach's doghouse and a coach cracking the whip to help a player realize his potential. It's the latter that seems to best describe the dynamic between Haley and Bowe.

So if you're worried by the thought of the Chiefs looking to trade away their young, talented receiver, rest easy. Judging by his actions over the past several months and his comments after Sunday's game, Haley is well aware that Bowe is a special talent. Why would he be going to all this effort to make Bowe a better player if they planned on shipping him out of town as soon at the first opportunity?


Another wide receiver has also been the subject of rumors over the last few days.

Almost immediately following his release from the New England Patriots Tuesday, Boston radio station WEEI reported that longtime veteran Joey Galloway was on his way to Kansas City for a workout.

However, a subsequent radio report from WDAE in Tampa – where, until this season, Galloway had played with the Bucs since 2004 – claimed the receiver hadn't heard anything from the Chiefs.

Presumably, the Tampa station would have received such a statement directly from Galloway or his agent. So was WEEI off on its initial story, or has his experience with the Patriots taught Galloway how to deal within the Belichick/Pioli shroud of secrecy?

Despite his advancing age, Galloway was considered a solid signing for New England back in March. He also drew interest from both the Ravens and Steelers. At least back in the Spring, some of the top evaluators in the league thought Galloway still had enough in the tank to be worth picking up. Apparently, though, it was just wishful thinking.

We should find out soon whether there's actually any truth to the Galloway-to-KC rumors. But after things didn't work out for him with the Patriots, one has to wonder what Galloway would bring to the Chiefs that they couldn't find with Bobby Engram, Amani Toomer, or Ashley Lelie.


It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs' defense handles San Diego this weekend.

For all the valid criticisms levied against Gunther Cunningham during his second stint with the Chiefs, he always did a good job game-planning against Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

A year ago, for example, Rivers threw only 11 interceptions all season. But three of them came in two games against Kansas City. Likewise, Rivers was the victim of five of the Chiefs' record low 10 sacks, an embarrassing statistic that his offensive line probably hasn't lived down to this day.

In his six career games against the Chiefs, Rivers has thrown more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (7) and has been sacked 15 times. That's an average of 1.5 picks and 2.5 sacks per game. For whatever reason, the Chiefs' defense has been able to consistently frustrate the Chargers' quarterback, as illustrated by the Sunday night game in 2006 where he threw his helmet in anger on the sideline.

But it's not just Rivers who the Chiefs have stymied. Over the same three-year span, Antonio Gates has averaged 5 catches for just 49 yards and half a touchdown when facing the Chiefs' defense. During two of the six games in that time frame, Gates was held to less than 10 receiving yards. In December of 2007, he finished a game against the Chiefs with negative yardage, the only time that's happened in his career.

Can Clancy Pendergast and the Chiefs' new defensive scheme continue these trends? If they can keep Rivers from getting comfortable, and if Todd Haley's offense does its part, perhaps the Chiefs will have a puncher's chance Sunday.

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