Red Zone

Observations from first five days at Chiefs camp

Updated: 2012-08-01T15:05:33Z


The Kansas City Star

   ST. JOSEPH |After five days of practice, including three in pads, the Chiefs have the day off today. They’re back at it at Missouri Western State University for three more days starting on Thursday before taking another one-day break.

   Here’s a look at some of the issues the Chiefs were faced with as camp started and how they’re being resolved:

   ---Staying healthy. The Chiefs were in good shape until cornerback Brandon Flowers was taken off in a cart during Tuesday night’s practice. It didn’t have the look of a season-ending injury and may not be serious at all. But even if it’s something nagging, maybe a hamstring or groin, it could play havoc with Flowers all season. That’s nothing the Chiefs need. They have plenty of bodies in the secondary, but nobody you’d feel comfortable having to play for a long stretch of games. Travis Daniels, who had been playing safety, replaced Flowers Tuesday night. Jalil Brown has had a nice camp and would deserve a look. Either way, this kind of thing so early in camp doesn’t bode well. It’s a long way to the Sept. 9 opener against the Falcons.

   ---Who needs Bowe? The Chiefs do, of course. But the play of Jon Baldwin is making his absence palatable. Baldwin was a star during offseason practice and has picked up right where he left off once the pads went on. Still, there are no winners in this Dwayne Bowe situation. Certainly not the Chiefs, who would suddenly have a nice set of receivers if Bowe was in shape and practicing. Certainly not Bowe, who is jeopardizing his chance to be effective during the regular season if he doesn’t report soon. I understand if he’s mad the Chiefs wouldn’t give him a long term contract but refusing to sign the one-year offer is doing nobody any good, particularly the Chiefs

   ---Woe is Poe? It’s far too early to worry about Dontari Poe, the Chiefs first-round draft choice. The Chiefs are probably doing the right thing by bringing him along slowly. But Romeo Crennel recently tried to downplay expectations for Poe, saying that for now, at least, he’s going to be a pass rusher and nothing else. That’s OK, for now. If the Chiefs get something from Poe early in the season, they’re a better team. Eventually, Poe needs to make an impact against the run. It looks and sounds like that time might be far off.

   ---The ACL club. So far, so good with Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Eric Berry. The Chiefs have held them from practice at times, a smart move with players coming off significant injuries. But they all appear to be on a track that would leave them ready for that opener against Atlanta.

   ---Who’s the backup QB? It doesn’t appear that either Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi has stepped forward in their duel to be the top reserve to Matt Cassel. Based purely on how they’ve thrown the ball in camp, neither one has been particularly impressive. Other things, like classroom work, will factor into the Chiefs’ decision. But if this thing is a tie, or even very close, you have to go with the experience. So, unless Stanzi makes a big leap forward and leaves his competition in the dust, look for the Chiefs to go with Quinn.


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