Camp Notebook: Crennel's plans for preseason participation

Posted Aug 8, 2012

Training Camp Notebook Presented by Heartland Health

St. Joseph, Mo. – The decision isn’t an easy one to make for Romeo Crennel. On one hand, he can play his starters for some significant minutes during Friday’s preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. On the other hand, he knows that he’s risking his marquee players for the games that count with each extra minute they play for.

But that quandary will fall solely on the shoulders of Crennel. And in the meantime, he expects his starters to prepare like they’re taking on the Falcons in Week One of the regular season, not the Cardinals in Week One of the preseason.

“I told them to be ready to play however long I needed them,” said Crennel in his Wednesday press conference. “I didn’t know how long that might be, and I told them the only consideration would be that if there was someone who might have a little nagging injury or something like that, I may take that into consideration and not give them as much playing time. I want them to get ready to play. I don’t want them going into the game thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to come out after the first quarter or I’m going to only play a series.’ Just be ready to play and we’ll see how long it is.”

Even the slightest amount of playing time is a good sign for some starters. Crennel said earlier this week that Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, and Tony Moeaki will all receive significant playing time with the starters. His words were reflected in the depth chart released on Monday, which listed the “Left ACL trio” with the first-stringers.

Cornerback Brandon Flowers (foot) and fullback Shane Bannon (abdominal) were the only two starters kept out of the lineup for today’s afternoon practice. The Chiefs have had to get creative in the absence of both, playing Jalil Brown at outside corner and undrafted rookie running back Nate Eachus at fullback this week.

Crennel said Flowers, Bannon, and the rest of the injured players won’t be brought along faster in order to get them some preseason snaps.

 “When the trainer tells me that they can practice, then they’ll practice,” said Crennel. “But, if you don’t practice, it’s hard to play in the game because you’ve missed that time. So, when the trainer says these guys can practice, then we’ll practice them. And, if they cannot practice before the game, chances of them playing in the game are not great.”

Coordinator/Coach Crennel

The first preseason game is getting closer, and that means Romeo Crennel is approaching his own mini-milestone.

Friday will mark the first game Crennel will coach as the full-time head coach of the Chiefs. He led the team for the final three games of the 2011 season after acting as the defensive coordinator for the previous 13, but it was as an interim coach only.

His last game was with the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 28, 2008 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Crennel, a 31-year NFL veteran, is still the teams’ defensive coordinator. But he credited the flexibility of his defensive coaching staff with letting him focus on the offensive side of the ball as well.

“I think it’s coming along pretty well,” said Crennel. “I’ve got good help, and that’s the thing that allows me to try and take on both roles. (Secondary coach) Emmitt Thomas, (linebackers coach) Gary Gibbs, (defensive line coach) Anthony Pleasant, (defensive assistant) Adam Zimmer, (defensive quality control coach) Otis Smith – those guys do a tremendous job, and I have faith in them. If I’m not there, they can get it done. ”

Take Five: Quick Hitters from Wednesday’s Practice:

1. Flowers (foot) was held out of practice again. Travis Daniels (undisclosed), Bannon (abdominal), Ethan Johnson (head/chin), Junior Hemingway (groin) and Dwayne Bowe (contract) also missed practice. DeQuan Menzie (undisclosed) walked off the field halfway through the afternoon practice, but appeared in the morning walkthrough.

2. Defensive back Chandler Fenner had a great one-handed interception, picking Ricky Stanzi in the endzone. Stanzi threw a fade to receiver Josh Bellamy, but Fenner tipped it, relocated the ball in the air, and got both hands on it before stepping out of bounds.

3. Cameron Sheffield continued to make strides with two back-to-back plays at outside linebacker. In 11-on-11 drills, he rushed Brady Quinn to throw an inaccurate deep throw, and followed that play up by shedding a block to chase running back Cyrus Gray for an assisted tackle.

4. A big collision occurred when Jean Fanor and Neiko Thorpe both jumped a pass intended for receiver Aaron Weaver. Weaver was sandwiched between the two defensive backs when Stanzi rifled a pass his way, and collided with Thorpe as he fell to the ground. Fanor, an undrafted rookie, broke free from the group and tipped the ball away.

5. Two big back-to-back runs from Shaun Draughn ended today’s final 11-on-11 drill. The first was a handoff that the running back cut inside for a gain of 25 yards. Matt Cassel took the offense into the no-huddle from there, and then handed the ball back to Draughn from the shotgun. On the draw, the first-year back scampered up the middle again and walked into the endzone untouched.

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