September 12, 2013

Charles ‘limited’ in Chiefs’ practice Thursday

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles took one step closer to being available for the home-opener against Dallas on Sunday. Charles was listed as a “limited participant” in practice on Thursday.

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles took one step closer to being available for the home-opener against Dallas on Sunday.

Charles was listed as a “limited participant” in practice on Thursday, a day after he did not practice because of a quadriceps injury he suffered in the season-opening win at Jacksonville.

Tight end Travis Kelce, who missed the Jacksonville game with a knee injury, did not practice on Thursday, and cornerback Dunta Robinson was excused for the second straight day because of a family issue. Safety Husain Abudullah took Robinson’s place as the nickel back.

Guard Jon Asamoah, who missed the Jacksonville game because of a calf injury, was a full participant; as was linebacker Nico Johnson (ankle), Abdullah (foot), linebacker Dezman Moses (toe); and offensive lineman Donald Stephenson (shoulder).

The Cowboys said linebacker Ernie Sims (groin) and defensive end Anthony Spencer (knee) did not practice. Quarterback Tony Romo (ribs) and wide receiver Dez Bryant (foot) went through a full practice.

Tight end’s whirlwind

Tight end Sean McGrath, who was claimed on waivers from Seattle at the start of last week, practiced for the first time last Wednesday and was in the starting lineup on Sunday at Jacksonville.

“I was ready for it,” said McGrath, who started with Anthony Fasano in the two-tight end formation and participated in 12 offensive plays and four special-teams plays in the Chiefs’ opener. “Coming in, I knew they were going to give me an opportunity to show what I can.

“The good thing about it is you don’t have to get slammed with the entire offense all at once. I’m not fully there in terms of grasping the entire offense. But I know I’m going to get done what I need to know that week and go out there on Sunday and execute.”

Because of Kelce’s knee injury, McGrath is the club’s only other healthy tight end other than Fasano. But don’t pigeonhole him as just a blocking tight end. “A true tight end,” he said.

Hold onto the ball

The Dallas Cowboys created an NFL-best six takeaways — three interceptions, three fumbles — in their season-opening win over the Giants, and the Chiefs are acutely aware of the importance of ball security this week.

“They do rip footballs; they’re poking at it and punching at it,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “You emphasize it even more this week, having good ball security and carrying the ball the right way, high and tight.”

Unlikely receiving leader

Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson was not surprised that fullback Anthony Sherman tied Dwayne Bowe for the team lead with four catches and a team-leading 44 yards in the win over Jacksonville.

“You go back to training camp, we experimented with him out in space,” Pederson said. “He has great hands and is a good route runner. If we can continue to find ways to get him out in space and utilize him that way, we’re going to do that.

“You hear fullback, and you think of a big bruiser, which you need on your football team. When you study film and see him running around, you know there’s some athleticism there.”

Catapano’s role

Rookie defensive end Mike Catapano, a seventh-round draft pick from Princeton, participated in 31 plays as a rusher on passing downs at Jacksonville in place of Allen Bailey, who missed the game because of a family issue.

Bailey returned this week, so defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said he’ll have to figure out a way to use both of them against Dallas.

“We can use Cat in passing downs because he’s a good rusher, inside or outside,” Sutton said. “He has a great motor. He’s an intelligent guy, so he can take on a lot of different jobs. His role will keep growing. He did a nice job for his first game in the NFL His role isn’t getting reduced.

“We do a pretty good job rolling players through there. We always tell them, if there is something you can do well, we’ll probably going to find some way to use that.”

Sorting out special teams

The opening-week roster churning meant the Chiefs had several new faces on special teams and led to Jacksonville’s blocking a punt for a safety early in the game.

But special teams coach Dave Toub cited two of the newcomers, cornerbacks Ron Parker and Marcus Cooper for their play on the punt and punt-return teams.

“Both of them played well,” Toub said. “To play gunner in your first game and they did a good job on punt return, locking down their gunners ”

Two other newcomers, linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Dezman Moses, played substantially on special teams.

“The guys did a good job ” Toub said, “except for one play.”

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