Tag:Dexter McCluster
Posted on: October 31, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: October 31, 2010 12:21 pm
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AFC Inactives, Week 8

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Here’s who IS active in the AFC: Bengals CB Leon Hall.

And here’s who is out:

Dexter McCluster, WR, Chiefs: He has a high ankle sprain, and it looks like he’ll be out the next couple of weeks. Not only do the Chiefs lose a receiving and running threat, but they lose a dynamic kickoff and punt returner. CB Javier Arenas is expected to take over McCluster's duties.

Chinedum Ndukwe, S, Bengals: CB Johnathan Joseph and SS Roy Williams also are out, and when you pair that news with the fact Ndukwe won’t play, that’s a bad, bad sign for the Cincinnati secondary. Tom Nelson – with limited experience and limited talent – should get plenty of playing time in Ndukwe’s place, though Reggie Nelson will start.

Jeremy Mincey, DE, Jaguars:
Earlier in the week, he was named starter ahead of first-round bust Derrick Harvey. But then he broke his hand. So, he’s out and Harvey is back in the starting lineup.

Aaron Maybin, LB, Bills: The freefall of Maybin continues.

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Posted on: October 30, 2010 5:38 pm
 

Week 8 injury report analysis Part II

Posted by Andy Benoit

Bills @ Chiefs

Right tackle Cornell Green (knee) remains the only Bill who has battled a significant injury this season. That’s noteworthy considering this team has led the league in IR players two of the last three years. Buffalo defensive backs Terrence McGee (back) and Jairus Byrd (thigh) are both questionable, though both were full participants in practice this week.

Kansas City’s only injury of note is Dexter McCluster’s high ankle sprain. The budding multifaceted rookie is listed as questionable, though word is he’ll likely be out multiple weeks.

Redskins @ Lions

Of the 12 Redskins listed as questionable this week, only five had less than full participation in practice: offensive tackles Jammal Brown (hip) and Stephon Heyer (ankle), safeties LaRon Landry (Achilles) and Kareem Moore (knee) and fullback Mike Sellers (foot). The Skins are growing more and more concerned about Brown’s ailing right hip – the same hip that kept him out all of last season. If he can’t play, and if Heyer can’t play (well, it’s clear Heyer CAN’T play, but in this case, we mean if he can’t play because of his ankle) then guard Artis Hicks will slide over to tackle.

The Lions will get quarterback Matthew Stafford back from the shoulder injury he suffered on Opening Day. In fact, Stafford isn’t even listed on the injury report. Rookie RB Jahvid Best is. He’s probable with a toe (and he admits it has hindered him as of late). MLB DeAndre Levy is questionable with an ankle injury that has kept him out all but one game.

Panthers @ Rams

Don’t expect Carolina’s suddenly-stagnant running game to finally get rolling this week. The team is still without RT Jeff Otah (knee) and now, RB DeAngelo Williams is out (foot). St. Louis’ own star RB underwent finger surgery this week, though Steven Jackson vows he’s going to play.

Danario Alexander is the latest Rams wide receiver to hurt his knee. At least he’s only out a few weeks, though (cartilage). Defensive tackles Fred Robbins (toe) and Darell Scott (ankle) were both limited in practice. RT Jason Smith showed concussion-like symptoms after dinging his head in practice; he’ll be replaced Sunday by Renardo Foster. It’s worth noting that Smith missed the second half of last season with a concussion.

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Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:51 pm
 

Bad news for Chiefs star rookie

Posted by Andy Benoit
D. McCluster
According to Kansas City 610 AM radio personality Nick Wright, Chiefs rookie sensation Dexter McCluster has a high ankle sprain and could be out multiple weeks.

McCluster was injured last Sunday against the Jaguars. The timing was extra unfortunate considering his role as a running back was expanding in that game (he had four carries for 28 yards coming out of the backfield; he had just seven rushing attempts in the previous five games).

With McCluster on the mend, the Chiefs will have to find a new source of electricity in the slot. McCluster has just 15 receptions for 149 yards in six games this season, though every catch has seemingly brought some form of momentum swing.

The Chiefs can fill McCluster’s void in the return game with Javier Arenas, but like the Saints without Reggie Bush, they’ll miss the decoy value and versatility he brings to the offense.

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Posted on: October 1, 2010 3:26 pm
 

Five questions (or more) with KC Star's Kent Babb

Kansas City's defense is one reason why the team has started the season 3-0 (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Kent Babb has covered the Chiefs for the Kansas City Star for the past three seasons. Finally, he's getting to cover a football team that actually is successful.

We talked to Babb this week about why the Chiefs have performed so well, why coach Todd Haley is different this season, how QB Matt Cassel responds to criticism and the death of Kenny McKinley.

Previous Five Questions (or more) With …:

Sept. 24: Texans WR Kevin Walter

Sept. 17: former Bengals, Titans DT John Thornton

Sept. 11: Seahawks RB Leon Washington

1. CBSSports.com: I think everybody is surprised to see the Chiefs start 3-0. Is this something that anybody could have expected? How did you think they’d do before the season started?

Kent Babb: I thought they’d win six or seven games. I thought if they got off to a really great start and upset San Diego, then maybe they’ll win eight or possibly nine. Never in 100 years did we think they’d start 3-0. No way in the world. But that’s what happened. I don’t know why that is. I think a lot of things have gone right. Todd Haley has coached extremely well. Somehow it’s just happened. People are crowing about how they saw this coming. I don’t think anybody – even the people in the organization – would have thought they’d start this well. There’s just no reason. It’s insane to think they would start like this.

2. CBS: So much has been said about Haley and about how last year, he was so demanding of his team. But now he’s laughing and making players honorary coaches, and the team is responding. How much of an impact did it have that he’s kind of changed his coaching style?

Babb: Maybe some. Part of it is a response to what he did last year. I was like a lot of people in saying, ‘What is this guy doing?’ He was screaming at everybody and embarrassing players on the field. Now he makes the point that it was part of his strategy. I think it’s a couple things. I think that no person is ready to be an NFL head coach. That extends to Todd Haley. I think part of what he had to do was assert himself, because he didn’t take the traditional path to being a coach. Part of it – and he says this was on purpose – was because the team was so lacking in discipline and focus, he had to come and be a jerk for a season. He had to be a complete maniac. Once they understood that, he could take his foot off the gas. That makes sense psychologically. I don’t think the players liked him a lot of last year. But now it’s gotten to the point where players are understanding a little bit. I read a thing the other day where he’s always texting Brandon Flowers and saying, ‘Darrelle Revis is SO much better than you.’ That’s part of his mind game. But guys are starting to respond to it, because they think, ‘Nobody is this over the top.'

3. CBS: It’s hilarious to read your Twitter feed on Sundays because of how much you rip Matt Cassel. How is this team playing so well when they’ve got a guy who’s 25th in the league in passing? I know they lead the NFL in rushing, but the defense is OK and Cassel is running the show. How are the Chiefs doing it?

Babb: They did it the first two games just by the skin of their teeth. The last game, they made what could be the biggest adjustment of the year – scaling down their expectations of Matt Cassel. It was right when the second quarter began. They ran these short and intermediate routes instead of throwing the deep ball. They were throwing to (Dexter) McCluster, (Tony) Moeaka and (Jamaal) Charles and letting them do something with it. That’s how this team will score points. If you’re counting on Matt Cassel to lead you on these heroic drives, it’s not going to happen. For every one great ball he throws, there’s six or seven ones that aren’t. It’s what the Chiefs will have to get used to, because he’s not a great quarterback. They’ll have to rely on other weapons. They did that against San Francisco, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence they scored 31 points and, by the way, Cassel threw for the most yards of the season.

CBS: It’s easy for a national guy to rip on him, because he or she is not going to be in the locker room the next day. But you’re there every day. Assuming he knows what you write about him, how do you and Cassel get along?

Babb: With Matt Cassel – and this goes back to the New England days – these guys are trained to put on a good face. They never admit they read or see anything. I don’t believe that, because I think this team is very sensitive and very aware about what’s said about them, maybe more than anyone else. Publicly, they act like they don’t hear anything. Only occasionally does Matt Cassel show where he’s bothered by it. Before the season in a press conference, you could tell our questions were getting under his skin. It was a very bizarre few minutes. One of the radio guys asked, ‘What do you have to do to get the fans back on your side?’ You could tell Cassel was starting to hear it. I asked him, ‘You’re a guy who’s come back from some stuff. Do you relish proving people wrong?’ He got a little teary-eyed, and he pretty much said he only plays for his family and for the people who believe in him. The next question came but then he kind of walked out of the press conference. That’s the most real thing I’ve even seen out of him.”

4. CBS: Can the Chiefs keep up this run of success? Can they actually contend for the AFC West title?

Babb: I say yes for three reasons. No. 1, the defense is pretty good. It’s for real. The other two reasons are their schedule and the AFC West. Basically, it’s set up for the Chiefs to win this year. San Diego has lost two games already, and they’re already two games behind the Chiefs in the standings after just three games. The Chiefs will come back to reality the next two weeks when they go to Indy and Houston. We’ll see what they’re made of. If the defense can keep those two offenses in check – even if they don’t win those games – maybe they’re sort of for real.

5. CBS:
You used to cover the University of South Carolina before going to Kansas City. When were you there?

Babb: For three years – in 2005, 06 and 07.

CBS: So, you must have gotten to know Kenny McKinley pretty well. I went to his funeral service on Monday and I’ve talked to other people, and everybody talked about how happy he always was. How he always had a smile on his face. What are your memories of him?

Babb: Mainly, like everybody else, I never would have thought anything like that would ever happen. All the stories are true. Anytime you ever saw him, he was in a good mood and telling funny stories. Even if the Gamecocks got beat pretty badly, he was the guy who saw the sunshine. This goes to show you never know what’s going on. Whatever you see, it’s not necessarily representative of what’s going on in their mind. It was a pretty shocking thing for me. If you lined up 100 people who may be a candidate for a thing like this, Kenny would have been the last guy picked. There’s just no way you could have predicted it. It’s just sad somebody who had so much at a young age can’t find a way out of it, that he suffers so much, this is the route he finds.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 9:59 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 5:07 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Biggest problems

Mike Singletary has led his San Francisco squad to an 0-3 start to the season (AP).
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The first game, if your favorite team has a bad day at the office, you can forgive it. “Ah, it’s just one game,” you might say. “My men have plenty of time, and it was the first game of the season. Obviously, they haven’t worked out all the kinks.” You can still sleep at night.

The second game, if your team stinks up the joint again, you can forgive it. With reservations. “OK, it’s only two games. The season is still long. You can still make the playoffs if you start it out 0-2. They’re still figuring things out.” You still sleep at night, though probably not as soundly.

By the third game, though, if your team is still playing really, really poorly, you might have a tough time catching those Z's. By game three, problem teams – and problem players – are becoming more “the trend” and less “just a phase.” Your team might really suck, after all. Your favorite player might officially be over the hill.

You might officially have a problem.

10. Carson Palmer:
I’ve watched Palmer closely the past five or six years, and after the Jets beat Cincinnati in the playoffs last year, I wrote Palmer was no longer an elite quarterback (you can’t be elite, after all, if your stats fall somewhere between Jason Campbell and David Garrard). He’s continued his struggles this year, and though, the Bengals don’t need him quite as much if they have a healthy Cedric Benson, you can close the book on him as one of the best in the game.

9. Shawne Merriman’s Achilles/Andre Johnson’s ankle: Let’s combine two annoying injuries for players who would do well to stay on the field. Merriman, who missed much of the preseason because of a holdout/Achilles injury, played the last two weeks, but he had to leave Sunday’s contest because of a calf injury. Though he’s not the player he once was, he’s a better option for San Diego than Antwan Applewhite and Brandon Lang. And Johnson’s ankle is self-explanatory. If he’s not on the field – and he’s had to miss part of the past two games – the Texans offense isn’t nearly as potent.

8. David Garrard: I know, I hate putting two QBs on here in the first three picks, but, unlike Palmer, I’m not sure why Garrard is still playing with the first string. I mean, aside from Todd Bouman (hasn’t thrown a pass in five seasons) being his only backup. Coach Jack Del Rio was asked how much longer he could play Garrard, and Del Rio said as long as he was the team’s best option. Meaning he’s the team’s only option. Which is bad news.

7. Ben Roethlisberger’s return:
This isn’t about Roethlisberger necessarily and I assume coach Mike Tomlin will give him back his job when he returns from his four-game suspension, but the Steelers could be 4-0 playing a combination of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. Roethlisberger obviously is a better QB than either of those two, but he’ll probably be rusty. What if he struggles against the Browns in his first game? What if Miami’s defense lights him up the week after that? Will Steelers fans be chanting Charlie Batch’s name (probably not, but you never know …)?

6. Brandyn Dombrowski:
So, how soon can Marcus McNeill return for San Diego? Dombrowski, playing LT and trying to protect Philip Rivers’ blindside, had a tough time against Seattle on Sunday, Chris Clemons toasted him a few times to sack Rivers, and on the Chargers’ first attempt to get within two late in the game – the first time Rivers hit TE Antonio Gates – Dombrowski was called for holding. San Diego coach Norv Turner has defended him, but Dombrowski had a rough one in the Chargers loss.

G. Hartley had a rough week for New Orleans last week and is in danger of losing his job (AP). 5. Garrett Hartley: It’s hard to believe how badly Hartley missed his game-winning 29-yard field goal in overtime of the Falcons victory against the Saints. Coach Sean Payton has shown plenty of loyalty to Hartley, but Hartley directly cost New Orleans the game Sunday. How many more games will he negatively impact the Saints before he’s off the team? Maybe, none. John Carney and Matt Stover apparently have tried out for the Saints this week, and at this point, if Hartley lasts the year in New Orleans, it’d be kind of a surprise. 

4. The entire AFC/NFC West: We’ll get into San Francisco’s Mike Singletary in a minute, but man, how inconsistent have these conferences been? Oakland has been terrible (against Tennessee), less terrible (a win against St. Louis), and almost not terrible enough to win again (a 24-23 loss to Arizona). Derek Anderson has worked his anti-magic for the Cardinals. And you still don’t know what you’re going to get when Seattle runs onto the field for the game. I'm still shocked St. Louis beat Washington. These divisions are wide open for the taking, especially when Kansas City starts 3-0 and leads the AFC West.

3. Chargers kick return coverage:
OK, so you saw what Leon Washington did against San Diego on Sunday, returning a kick for 101 yards for the TD and then returning another kick for 99 yards. That was unreal. But don’t forget about Kansas City’s Dexter McCluster, who had a 94-yard punt return in the season opener vs. San Diego. On Monday, several Chargers veterans volunteered for special teams duties in order to help improve that unit. Hey, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

2. Giants discipline:
Remember how Antrel Rolle complained about how much control the coaching staff held over the players? Well, that’s not exactly true, especially when we’re talking about New York’s 11 penalties, including five personal fouls that occurred after the play was over, in its bad loss to Tennessee. Two 15-yarders came courtesy of RT Kareem McKenzie (behavior McKenzie called “despicable” the next day), and Rolle incurred one when he tried to punch Tennessee TE Craig Stevens. With performances like that, you have to wonder what kind of control coach Tom Coughlin actually asserts over his players. And how much longer he’ll be in control of the Giants at all.

1. Mike Singletary:
After the 49ers 31-10 beatdown by the Chiefs, word filtered out that Kansas City’s defenders apparently were calling out San Francisco’s play calls before the plays were actually run. Now, the 49ers are 0-3, and maybe, aside from pulling down his pants to motivate his team, Singletary doesn’t exactly seem like an X’s and O’s guy. He actually was asked after the game if he had been outcoached, and he said, “I would not say ‘outcoached.’ When you have a loss like this, a lot of things look wrong.” Like the offense. And a day after backing his offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and saying he’d be around the rest of the season, Singletary fired him. That means new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson continues the streak of Alex Smith never playing for the same coordinator in back-to-back seasons. I’m sure that will help.

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Posted on: September 18, 2010 5:46 pm
 

Dexter McCluster raps about texting and driving

Posted by Will Brinson

Apparently, the below commercial popped up on the Jumbotron at the Ole Miss game today. It's relevant here because it's Dexter McCluster, human joystick and all-purpose weapon for the Kansas City Chiefs, rapping about the need to not text and drive.

Texting and driving is dangerous and a very serious matter. But the "don't L-O-L" line made me laugh. Out loud.

Posted on: September 14, 2010 10:41 pm
 

Something rare happened in Chiefs-Chargers game

Posted by Andy Benoit

Let me start by a.) apologizing for writing in first person (something I almost never do on the Facts and Rumors Blog) and b.) stating that I realize I very well could be the only person who finds these next few paragraphs interesting. I don’t care – something happened in the Chiefs-Chargers game Monday night that I’ve been waiting for my entire life.
D. McCluster (US Presswire)
The biggest play in the game was Dexter McCluster’s 94-yard punt return touchdown. That play put Kansas City up 21-7 and officially blew the top off of a raucous Arrowhead Stadium (which, of course, never had a top to begin with….but you get what I’m saying).
I won’t remember the McCluster play for the momentum-swing, though. I’ll remember it for the clock. You know how the two minute warning sometimes comes at 1:59 or 1:57 or something like that? Well, for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to see a two minute warning come after 1:50. In other words, I’ve wanted to see a two minute warning that starts with a 1 and a 4. Why? No idea – just one of those things.

Maybe it’s because the chances of a 1 and 4 two minute warning happening are Olson Twin-slim. You basically need a punt to occur at 2:01, followed by a long return. Punts right before the 2:00 mark which almost never happen.

But Monday night, it did happen. Mike Scifres caught the snap from the long snapper sometime between 2:01 and 2:02. By the time McCluster reached the end zone, 1:43 remained. 1:43! I’d always figured that when – if – the sub-1:50 two minute warning occurred, it would be a 1:49 mark. Having it at 1:43 was like Mark McGwire passing Roger Maris’ 61-home run record by 11. The mark wasn’t broken, it was shattered.

The sad part is, I didn’t realize what had happened until several seconds afterwards. (Ironic, given the seemingly hundreds of times I’ve anticipated it and been disappointed.) I had to rewind the DVR to confirm it.

Maybe this was because, like McGwire’s home run mark, this 1:43 felt tainted. Why? Because the two minute warning never really occurred. McCluster’s touchdown stopped the clock and prompted a television timeout anyway. Maybe that timeout was because of the two minute warning (this, in fact, is likely, because touchdowns late in the half often don’t lead to commercials as, by that point, the network has usually gotten through all the necessary ads for the first two quarters). But we’ll never know. Brad Nessler, who called the game for ESPN, never mentioned the two minute warning.

If you’re still reading then, Wow, I guess you cared. In that case, let me push my luck by sharing two more quick, miscellaneous
thoughts that perhaps only I find interesting:

One: did anyone else notice that there seemed to be an insanely high number of fan shots during the broadcast last night? I started keeping track during the second quarter. Unofficially, in the second quarter, ESPN showed close-ups of fans in the stands 20 times. In the third quarter, 10 times. In the fourth quarter, 23 times (this is a little more understandable because there were so many tense plays late in the fourth, which usually spark more fan shots). Overall, that was  50-plus fan shots in three quarters. And you have to figure there were at least 20 in the first quarter, otherwise I wouldn’t have been inspired to count them.

Second (and final) random thought: don’t the Chiefs uniforms look great under the lights? I figured out why: their helmets are red. Hold your sarcastic response…do you realize that Kansas City is essentially the only team in the NFL that wears a red helmet? Sure, the Bills have red helmets, but the enormous blue buffalo on the side, and the thick blue-white-blue stripe down the middle take up nearly half the helmet’s real estate. And I’m not counting the Redskins as having red helmets – that’s not red, it’s maroon. As popular as the color red is, the Chiefs are really the only team that sports the color on their lids.

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Posted on: September 14, 2010 1:34 am
Edited on: September 14, 2010 8:58 am
 

Chiefs should be fun to watch this year

Posted by Will Brinson



Whether or not the Chiefs can actually challenge for AFC West division supremacy doesn't really matter, because they're going to be incredibly fun to watch this year. (Well, it does matter, I guess, and Kansas City can contend in a weak division, especially after beating the Bolts 21-14 in a thrilling Monday night doubleheader .)

But even if they don't, you're going to want to tune in when they play. Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster are ticking timebombs in the return game; McCluster is a home run threat out of the slot, on screens and even out of the backfield on offense; Dwayne Bowe/Matt Cassel will be better than they were against San Diego; and Jamaal Charles is the truth.

The defense has playmakers too, even if the weather in Arrowhead substantially assisted the Chiefs (or, if you prefer, "Cheifs" as was the popular trending topic on Twitter at some point on Tuesday ). Glenn Dorsey managed a half-sack, which wouldn't be that impressive if it wasn't a half-sack more than his 2009 total.

And Tyson Jackson, if he's not hurt too badly, looked vastly improved -- look no further than the immediate success of the Chargers following his departure. Eric Berry got torched for a deep touchdown pass, but he's clearly got skills when he's not forgetting what coverage package the team is running.

Finally, Kansas City has two established veteran coordinators running the show; people (myself included) like to make jokes about Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. That's because they stunk when they were put in charge of teams. They didn't stink when they were calling plays and running individual units of teams.

While it's easy to say there was a "different feeling" in Arrowhead on Monday night/Tuesday morning based on the crowd noise and excitement, there's at least a logical reason for thinking that this franchise is headed in a different direction.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com