- Adam Schefter, NFL
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Credit will continue to be showered upon Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey for the job they have done building the NFL's last unbeaten team this season.
But save some for the men who got nothing but pink-slipped.
Former Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson and former vice president of player personnel Billy Kuharich provided the foundation for this Kansas City team, which is the first in major professional North American sports history to start a season 8-0 after having the league's worst record the previous season.
They deserve to be remembered and praised.
Look at the players Peterson and Kuharich brought to Kansas City. They drafted running back Jamaal Charles, offensive lineman Branden Albert, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, defensive end Tamba Hali, linebacker Derrick Johnson, cornerback Brandon Flowers and punter Dustin Colquitt. Charles is an MVP candidate; Hali, Johnson and Flowers are Pro-Bowl candidates.
Each has played a significant role in leading the Chiefs to an undefeated record for the second time in team history, with eyes on improving to 9-0 Sunday in Buffalo before Kansas City's bye week and a pivotal AFC West game against the high-powered Denver Broncos.
Peterson and Kuharich were basically booed out of Kansas City, despite leaving a mark and players the city didn't realize it had. Their contributions still are being felt more than five years after they departed.
And don't forget former general manager Scott Pioli. Before he was fired last offseason, Pioli drafted, among others, defensive tackle Dontari Poe, defensive end Tyson Jackson, linebacker Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry. They too are a major part of a defense that has not allowed more than 17 points in each of its first eight games, the first team since the 1977 Atlanta Falcons to accomplish the feat.
None of this diminishes the job Reid and Dorsey have done; it just complements them. The downfall of the men who were let go was the lack of a quarterback. The new regime never let it get that far.
Reid and Dorsey were smart enough to land Alex Smith, who helped stabilize an entire franchise, then fill in weak spots with reliable players such as defensive tackle Mike DeVito, linebacker Akeem Jordan and cornerback Sean Smith.
Reid and Dorsey brought it all together. This is now their team, their story. They have made the difference. But Peterson, Kuharich and Pioli also made a difference in their own way, too.
Big D's porous pass D: Dallas has the NFL's lowest-ranked pass defense. Even more problematic is the fact that the Cowboys already have become the first team in NFL history to allow four 400-yard passing games in a season.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for 450 yards in the regular-season opener against Dallas, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 401 yards in Week 4 vs. the Cowboys, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 414 in Week 5 against them and Matthew Stafford threw for 488 last Sunday against Dallas.
Here's the discouraging part for Dallas. It might not get better anytime soon. It still has to play Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New Orleans' Drew Brees this season.All the money and picks the Cowboys invested in their secondary, namely cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, hasn't worked.
Dallas' offense might be potent enough to produce record-breaking numbers. But its defense also is surrendering them.
No stopping Rivers: Nobody can or should question the talents and toughness of Rivers. He is playing behind a patchwork offensive line and putting up numbers that rival just about any quarterback in the league.
In the past three games, in large part because of an injury outbreak along their offensive line, the Chargers have gone through five different left tackles: Michael Harris, Nick Becton, Mike Remmers, King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker.
Dunlap figures to be the starter Sunday, when the Chargers play at Washington. But Rivers' play this season has been impressive enough. The fact that he has done it behind an offensive line that has been reshuffled almost every Sunday makes it even more impressive.
The Schef's specialties
• Game of the Week: Chicago at Green Bay -- The Monday night matchup is the only game on the Week 9 schedule that matches two teams with above-.500 records.
• Upset of the Week: Houston over Indianapolis -- The Colts are learning to live without Reggie Wayne, while the Texans are learning to live with Case Keenum. Houston adjusts quicker Sunday.
• Player of the Week: Panthers QB Cam Newton -- Very quietly and very effectively, Newton is emerging as a quarterback capable of leading Carolina to the playoffs.
7hDianna Russini and Adam Schefter
19hEric D. Williams
1dBy Dan Graziano