In the first day of training camp, three integral names and voices of the Chiefs’ defensive 11 were missing from camp: safety Eric Berry and outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.
For Derrick Johnson, another cornerstone and captain of the Kansas City defense, the lack of presence of his three teammates on the field was impossible to miss.
“Nobody’s (Eric Berry). Nobody’s Justin Houston. Nobody’s Tamba (Hali),” Johnson said. “You can’t replace those guys.”
Never mind that, though.
There were still 11 players on the first-team defense filling those holes; three of them getting experience and evaluation they might not otherwise get. That, Johnson said, is a positive to the depth Chiefs general manager John Dorsey has built on the front seven.
But when — or, for Berry and Houston, if — those guys get back to training camp, they’ll be right back to where they’re supposed to be.
“Those guys will be back,” Johnson said. “And we’ll love them up and it’ll be moving like they haven’t missed a beat.”