“In this job, there are going to be three things you don’t expect to happen every day,’’ Crennel said. “Not just every week but every day. You have to deal with it. Having had the experience before, you understand things are going to happen that really are out of your control.’’
The Chiefs signed two offensive linemen, Bryan Mattison and Russ Hochstein. Mattison can play both guard and center. He played in 15 games over the past two seasons with the Rams and Ravens. He started four games for St. Louis last year.
Hochstein has played 11 years at guard, mostly as a backup, with Tampa Bay, New England and Denver. He was a backup in 15 games for Denver last season and hasn’t started a game since 2010.
“I can’t express how pleased we are to be part of such a fantastic franchise that allows us the ability to create, inform and entertain,” Chiefs Vice President of Media and Marketing Robert Alberino said. “The freedom we have is so very appreciated. The ability to put this team and its history on display for the fan base across the country is an honor and a responsibility we do not take lightly. We will continue to remain on the cutting edge as we strive to be the single-most coveted production arm in all of major league sports.”
Hudson, a second-year pro, had done an admirable job taking over the starting center spot for Casey Wiegmann, who chose not to return for his 16th season in the NFL.
The way it looks, it’s going to be several weeks with him,” Crennel said. “There’s a broken bone, but it doesn’t require surgery. He’s got to be off it for several weeks, and then several weeks with crutches, so it’s going to be most of the season.”
Hochstein has ties to Crennel and Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli from his time with the Patriots, where he spent the majority of his career. The 34-year-old lineman has started 36 of the 137 games he’s played over 10 seasons in New England, Tampa Bay and Denver.
Mattison has started four of the 15 games he’s played with Baltimore and St. Louis.
“You never want to play like we did (Sunday), but when you do, you definitely have to learn from it and get to the next game because there’s no waiting around and feeling sorry for yourself,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “It’s a new week, and we know how important it is to win division games. We’re headed into Kansas City, and they’re coming off a huge game in New Orleans. So there’s no time to overanalyze the previous game or sulk, because we’ve got to go on the road and win in a new environment.
“Kansas City doesn’t care that we lost or how we feel. We have to go in there and win that game.”
The Chiefs were outscored 75-41 in losses to Atlanta and Buffalo and fell behind New Orleans 24-6 midway through the third quarter Sunday. But Jamaal Charles ripped off a franchise record-long 91-yard touchdown run on Kansas City’s next play, the spark that seemed to get the Chiefs’ offense going in the Superdome.
“Games like this can build momentum throughout a season,” said receiver Steve Breaston, who may take on an increased role after an injury to Dexter McCluster on Sunday. “Being able to win a game like that brings a team together.”
Reporters and Chargers staff did a double take when they spotted LT Jared Gaither (back spasms) at practice Wednesday. Gaither (6-foot-9, 340 pounds) was limited and only participated in individual drills. It was the first participation in a practice for the protector of QB Philip Rivers’ blind side since July 27, when Gaither was carted off the field during the first full practice of training camp with a “full-body” cramp.
“This has been a long process and I’m just excited to get to this point,” Gaither said. “Every day will be another step and another step.”
Whether Gaither can take those steps fast enough to return to action this week is yet to be seen. “That’s my focus, to play this Sunday,” Gaither said. “Get ready for the Kansas City Chiefs and to stay on course. I feel good, making progress getting back out there.”
“Coming into our system as a linebacker he has to drop in coverage more, he has to read routes, make adjustments and all of those things,” Crennel said. “They run together a little bit as a rookie starting off, and then about halfway through the season I think he began to get comfortable with his assignments and what we were asking him to do … We have enough confidence that he understands that he has to cover a [Darren] Sproles that I can take good leverage and understand the guy has speed and quickness and try to use my help if I have help. I think he understands that a lot better this year than he did last year.”
While Crennel commends Houston for dropping back in coverage while the quarterback drops back to pass, the coach knows what Houston really wants to do.
“He would like to be a pass-rusher just like they all do, but he understands that in our system we ask him to do more,” Crennel said. “When he does more he helps the team. I think that’s what he is concerned about, helping this team win.”