In obvious preparation for the Sept. 9 season opener against Atlanta, the Chiefs withheld linebacker Tamba Hali at times from practice this week. Hali won’t play against the Falcons that day because of his one-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
But coach Romeo Crennel said Hali would play his normal role in the final preseason game Thursday night against the Packers in Green Bay.
“He’s a football player and he wants to play football, so we will let him play, but I think we will keep him on the same schedule that we keep the starters on,’’ Crennel said. “We will not give him any more or any less. Because he is a starter, I don’t think you want to expose him (to injury) more than you want to expose your other starters.
“We’ll deal with his circumstance next week.’’
The Chiefs had a variety of players filling in for Hali on Monday, including Andy Studebaker, Cameron Sheffield and Edgar Jones, who was signed as a free agent shortly after the start of training camp.
Crennel said those other players would still be able to prepare even though Hali will play.
“They’ve been here the whole time,’’ Crennel said. “If it were a guy who has not been here, like Jones, then you might say we should give Jones more work because he’s learning the system and all. But he’s picking up things pretty nicely, and he’s working hard in practice so I don’t think taking Tamba out will increase Jones’ effectiveness that much more.
“We’ve got that group and they all work well together, and (when) Tamba’s not here, those other guys will have to step up.’’Flowers picks it up
Starting cornerback Brandon Flowers still isn’t practicing and won’t play in Green Bay. Flowers hasn’t played in a preseason game or even practiced with the Chiefs since injuring his foot July 31.
But he was more active at practice Tuesday than he had been since the injury. Flowers did some light jogging off to the side and also did some cutting and backpedaling. That may mean nothing, or it could suggest Flowers is getting ready to try to play in the opener against Atlanta.
Following Thursday’s game, the Chiefs don’t resume practice until Monday.
Flowers has been a consistent observer at practice since the injury but had been reduced to little but standing on the sideline.A sense of urgency
Crennel acknowledged that the Chiefs, after their dismal game against Seattle last week, need to get more things accomplished against Green Bay than is normal for the final preseason game. Usually, the only goal of that last exhibition game is to emerge without significant injury.
He suggested how long the starters play could be tied to how productive they are.
“If they go out there and they operate efficiently, then I might be inclined to say, ‘Well, we’ve done something good,’ and if we don’t do anything good, I might say, ‘We need to do something good,’ to build up that confidence level,’’ Crennel said.
“You can go out and you can stink the place up and then you can take your starters out, and sometimes that will carry over to the regular season. So, that is one of the reasons that I mentioned to you I want to be efficient and look good, and if we can get that one done, it’s easier to take them out at that time.”