Red Zone

September 19, 2012

Chiefs are so banged up they don’t practice in pads

The Chiefs listed 13 players on their injury list on Wednesday, forcing coach Romeo Crennel to decide against holding practice in pads.

Red Zone

The Chiefs and NFL by beat writer Terez Paylor

The Chiefs listed 13 players on their injury list on Wednesday, forcing coach Romeo Crennel to decide against holding practice in pads.

Teams are allowed just one practice in pads per week, and Crennel plans to hold their padded practice Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s game at New Orleans.

The injury report included tight ends Kevin Boss (head) and Jake O’Connell (knee) and guard Ryan Lilja (back), who did not practice on Wednesday. Boss is expected to be out a couple of days, Crennel said, which could make him doubtful for Sunday.

Others listed as limited practice were: wide receiver Steve Breaston (wrist), slot receiver Dexter McCluster (shoulder), cornerback Jalil Brown (groin); cornerback Jacques Reeves (hamstring); and four players who did not play at Buffalo — wide receiver Devon Wiley (groin), safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), nose tackle Anthony Toribio (ankle) and defensive lineman Allen Bailey (ankle).

Running back Jamaal Charles, who suffered a bruised knee in last Sunday’s 35-17 loss at Buffalo, and cornerback Javier Arenas, who suffered a neck injury at Buffalo, were on the injury report but went through a full practice.

“(Charles) fell on his knee, got bruised, came up limping, so we took him out rather than leave him in there and expose him a little bit more,” Crennel said of not using Charles much in the second half. “Then as it developed, the other players were doing decent, so we didn’t feel a need to put him back at that moment.”

The Saints said former Chiefs defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (knee) did not practice. Wide receiver Marques Colston (foot) was limited while quarterback Drew Brees (ankle), safety Roman Harper (wrist), cornerback Johnny Patrick (thigh) and wide receiver Devery Henderson (concussion) were full participants.

Always a must-win

The Chiefs and Saints are among the six 0-2 teams in the NFL, making Sunday an apparent must-win for both teams. Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston said that’s no different than any week.

“Your back is against the wall every week in the NFL,” said Winston. “Everyone wants to say it’s a must-win. It’s a must-win every week. It was a must-win the last two weeks, it’s going to be a must-win this week, and whether we win or lose this week, it’s going to be a must-win next week.

“We go to New Orleans and get a win, and you’ll be saying, one more win, and you’ll be in first place. If it’s not a must-win, let me know, I won’t show up that week. However, you want to label it, we have a chance to win a ballgame, and I want to win it.”

Sproles is hot

Former Kansas State and Olathe North running back Darren Sproles, in his second season with the Saints, is tied for second in the NFL with 18 receptions for 188 yards, largely on the strength of a 13-catch, 128-yard game in last week’s loss at Carolina.

“We’re always going to try and get the ball in Darren Sproles’ hands,” said Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer. “Whether we hand it to him in the backfield, whether we throw it to him, whether we move him out at wide receiver … we’re going to get the ball to Darren as much as we can.”

Tale of turnovers

Kromer broke down the 0-2 starts by the Saints and Chiefs into one category — turnovers.

“The Chiefs are a talented bunch,” Kromer said. “But they’re in the same boat we are. They have six turnovers and zero takeaways. We have four turnovers and zero takeaways. If you look at winning and losing in these early-season games, or any game, it’s going to come down to turnovers.”

The Chiefs’ minus-6 in takeaway margin is worst in the NFL; the Saints’ minus-4 is tied with Denver for No. 30.

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