Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri is no longer one of the toughest stadiums in the NFL for an opposing team to play in. It used to be, back in the day of Dick Vermeil, Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez and Trent Green. The stadium's bright red seats somewhat resembles the Red Sea proudly owned by the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball. Now, rarely does an opponent come to Arrowhead not expecting a victory.
But the Chiefs still play hard; hard enough to upset division rival Sand Diego 21-14 in front of the nation on Monday Night Football. When they hired new head coac Todd Haley before last season, they needed a coach that was going to improve the defense. They allowed 424 points, the worst in the AFC and ranked 28th in the NFL While going 4-12 in their first season under their new skipper, they ranked one of the worst in the NFL in total defense. But to open up Haley's sophomore campaign, they played terrifically on Monday, shutting down one of the league's most established prolific offenses in the San Diego Chargers. Multi purpose middle linebacker Derrick Johnson took down a ball carrier 11 times and signified himself as a team leader on defense. They also brought in ex Patriots Super Bowl winning Mike Vrabel to bring leadership to the defensive end of the ball. He may not longer be the same contributor that he once was in stuffing the run, but his experience and knowledge of the game have certainly helped that team out.
The Browns will get a look at the safety that they hoped to draft in Eric Berry from Tennessee. The hard hitting defensive back recorded six tackles against the Bolts in his NFL debut, five of which were solo. He is the piece on defense that the Chiefs and General Manager Scott Pioli are looking to build the team around.
The same can be said for running back Jamaal Charles. Filling in for All-Pro Larry Johnson, Charles came strutting his stuff right out of the gate. He totaled 1120 yards in his first full season in the back field for the Red and Gold. The Chiefs brought in Thomas Jones from the Jets perhaps to add a second feature half back to a team whose identity is in the form of the run. It will also challenge Charles to rightfully claim his position as top Kansas City running back.
The Chiefs, like the Browns, are rebuilding. They have not had a winning season since 2006, when they went 9-7 overall. They've used first round picks on Eric Berry, Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, and Dwayne Bowe ever since their latest winning season. But they still need to address a few critical spots before they can move forward and challenge the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos in the AFC West division. The Chiefs and the Browns square off Sunday at 1 pm.