Chiefs Notebook: Prep for Atlanta begins on Labor Day

Posted Sep 3, 2012

The Chiefs hit the practice field on Labor Day to prepare for Sunday’s regular season opener against Atlanta

The Chiefs jumped into regular season mode on Labor Day in preparation for Sunday’s home opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Coach Romeo Crennel had his 53-man roster in line for a full work schedule at The University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex installing the beginning stages of Sunday’s game plan before a players’ day off on Tuesday. Practices resume Wednesday and run through Friday.

“I think we got a feel for what we have on the team and some of the abilities we have on the team,” Crennel said of the preseason concluding. “I think the team went through a growing process, and we’re still in that process.”

Kansas City finished its preseason with a 1-3 record, but Crennel remains confident heading into the 16-game regular season schedule.

“Every year you have to develop new team chemistry with the new guys who are added to the team,” Crennel said. “I think we are going through that process of developing the team chemistry. They showed at the first pre-season game, the way they executed during that game and in the last game, they showed they could execute at a good level. They gave us enough to feel good about going into the regular season.”

Johnson held out of practice; Flowers limited

The Chiefs practiced on Labor Day without a quartet of defensive starters.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson (ankle), safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) and nose tackle Anthony Toribio (ankle) were held out of Monday’s practice with injuries and outside linebacker Tamba Hali is serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Johnson was the most recent defender to suffer injury, aggravating his ankle in the first quarter of last Thursday’s preseason finale in Green Bay. Cory Greenwood finished the preseason listed as the top reserve behind Johnson, but Brandon Siler has the ability to play both inside linebacker positions

First-round draft pick Dontari Poe and veteran Abram Elam - a 16-game starter in Dallas last year - drew starts at Green Bay in the absence of Toribio and Lewis. Andy Studebaker is expected to see an increased workload at outside linebacker.

“You’d like to have all your guys all the time, but in this business, you don’t have all of them all the time,” Crennel said. “So, you have to depend on other guys to step up and do their part when they’re called on.

“Particularly at the outside linebacker position, that’s what has to happen, so we’ll have to rotate guys in there, and we will during the course of the week. I’ll need all of them to step up and be able to produce.”

The Chiefs were also without reserve defensive end Allen Bailey (ankle) on Monday.

Cornerback Brandon Flowers (foot), defensive back Jalil Brown (groin), wide receiver Terrance Copper (groin) and running back Cyrus Gray (hamstring) practiced in a limited capacity.

Hemingway dropped from practice squad

Seventh-round draft pick Junior Hemingway was released from the practice squad prior to Monday’s practice. The wide receiver out of Michigan was initially part of Kansas City’s eight-man developmental roster announced Saturday, but was swapped for first-year offensive lineman Rich Ranglin less than 48 hours later.

“I think as we were looking at it, we were a little heavy at the wide receiver spot so we made that move so that we could add an offensive lineman, make it a little bit easier at practice so we could operate practice more efficiently,” Crennel explained of the move.

Ranglin was part of the Chiefs cut down to 53 players on Friday. He’s been a standout in the Arena Football League for several seasons and won 2011 AFL Offensive Lineman of the Year honors for the Kansas City Command.

An alumnus of Central Connecticut State, Ranglin hails from the same college football program as Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.

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