Who knows where Derrick Johnson would be playing if it weren’t for an expiring Collective Bargaining Agreement?
It wasn’t two years ago that Johnson was set to become an unrestricted free agent, but the cumbersome nuances of the NFL’s labor climate did the Chiefs a favor. Over 200 players who were scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency following the 2009 season became restricted free agents instead.
Kansas City defenders are hoping that a second look at Tebow provides an advantage in preparing for Denver’s unorthodox play-calls. Tebow accounted for both of Denver’s touchdowns as the Broncos posted 244 rushing yards against Kansas City in a 17-13 victory last month.
“It causes problems because it’s different,” cornerback Javier Arenas said of Denver’s offense. “But this is professional football, so we’ll have to adjust. We’ll probably have some new responsibilities in terms of guys having the pitch-man or quarterback. We just have to execute.”
JOHNSON: “Scott Pioli gave me a call about a hour before and told me congratulations. I started grinning from ear to ear, it was definitely a proud moment, definitely hard work pays off. I just couldn’t be more proud of mostly my defensive linemen for the job they do in front of me because so many times they take up blockers and they allow me to freelance at time and use my athleticism. It definitely was a team award, anytime you get an individual award, especially in football it’s all about the team really.”
There is little rhyme or reason to the Chiefs’ ability to move the ball downfield, then have everything come undone when they’re on the doorstep of scoring touchdowns. But their inability to come away with seven points instead of just three might be the biggest reason they’re playing for pride, rather than the AFC West title, when they visit Denver on Sunday.
“It’s never one guy in this business. It’s always part of a team effort,” Crennel said. “We’ve been able to get down to the red zone, we just haven’t been able to produce.”
“I think it’s the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs,” Tebow said. “That’s a great rivalry and it’ll be a great game. (I’m) excited we get to play at home in front of our fans. I think that as a player, as a quarterback, as someone who has dreamed of that his whole life, it’ll be exciting to have one game, one last game, one last opportunity to make the playoffs.”
Tebow, though, is coming off his worst performance. He had three interceptions – a fourth was later changed to a fumble – after throwing only two in his previous nine starts, and a pair were returned for touchdowns in a 40-14 defeat at Buffalo last Saturday. Tebow completed only 13 of 30 passes as Denver suffered its second straight loss after six consecutive wins.