Chiefs Notebook: Roster cuts loom as Chiefs prepare for Packers

Posted Aug 28, 2012

Players try to limit distraction of Friday’s cut-down to 53 players

Training Camp’s final cut-down date looms less than 24 hours following the Chiefs preseason finale in Green Bay, creating plenty of distraction leading up to Thursday night’s game at Lambeau Field.

The Chiefs will need to clear 22 roster spaces before 8:00 p.m. (CST) Friday evening to comply with the league’s mandated roster maximum of 53 players. It makes for a short, sleepless flight home for many players sitting on the bubble.

“One of the distractions that the players have to deal with this week – the realization that the cuts occurred (Sunday) and then the realization that there will be more cuts on Friday,” head coach Romeo Crennel said. “So that’s one of the distractions that we have to deal with but that’s part of it, so we have to do that.”

The team’s charter flight will arrive in Kansas City International Airport sometime in the early hours of Friday morning with players learning about their playing future several hours later.

Though the Chiefs boast one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, there are still plenty of players who’ve experienced the nervousness associated with the conclusion of the preseason.

Many of those players once came out on the wrong side of final cuts as well.

“As far as being cut, I know what that’s all about,” said outside linebacker Andy Studebaker. “For the guys that do get released, I guess I’m proof that it’s not over. There is a future beyond this one team if they release you. I came here afterward and have been here five years since that happened.”

Studebaker was released after his first training camp with the Eagles in 2006. The sixth-round draft pick was then placed on Philadelphia’s practice squad before signing a two-year deal with the Chiefs later that season.  Studebaker re-signed with Kansas City in March of 2010.

With Tamba Hali set to serve a one-game suspension for the Chiefs regular season opener, the importance of reserve roster spots at outside linebacker only increases.

Cameron Sheffield and Gabe Miller factor into the mix for reserve roles alongside Studebaker, but veteran Edgar Jones appears to have made a roster push over final stages of the preseason as well.

“He’s picking up things pretty nicely,” Crennel said of Jones, who signed with the Chiefs in July as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore. “He works hard at practice, so I don’t think taking Tamba out (of practice drills) will increase Jones’ effectiveness that much more (leading up to Atlanta). We’ve got that group, and they all work well together. When Tamba is not here, those other guys will have to step up.”

Whoever wins the final position at outside linebacker will likely have to play both a special teams and defensive role week one vs. Atlanta.

“I think that everybody is focused right now on what they need to do to make this team,” Jones said. “I feel like all of us are trying to prepare our best for Green Bay and not worry so much about the cuts.”

Ending on a positive

Romeo Crennel wants to see something good out of his starters Thursday night and plans to play his front line players as long as it takes in order to end the preseason on a positive note.

“There is some significance in the game to how you play,” 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.”

Whether it takes one series or one half, Chiefs starters need to show Crennel something good before they turn their attention toward the regular season.

Injury situation for preseason finale

It looks like the Chiefs will be without starting defensive backs Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Flowers once again in Green Bay.

Flowers injured his foot on July 31st and hasn’t been able to fully participate in a practice since. Jalil Brown started the first three preseason games in Flowers’ absence, but suffered a groin injury against Seattle and has been unable to practice this week. That leaves veteran Jacques Reeves as the expected starter at cornerback opposite Stanford Routt Thursday night in Green Bay.

Lewis began strength motions on his injured shoulder this week, but has yet to return to the practice field. Abram Elam is once again expected to command the starting job at free safety next to Eric Berry with Travis Daniels working into the rotation when the Chiefs go with three-safety sets.

Rookies Cyrus Gray and De’quan Menzie have both been limited this week with hamstring injuries that kept them out of last week’s game. Gray has missed two consecutive games since ending the first week of preseason play as the AFC’s leading rusher.

Other players missing practice this week include Anthony Toribio (ankle), Allen Bailey (ankle), and Terrance Copper (groin). Linebacker Cory Greenwood gave it a go on Tuesday after missing last week’s game with a knee injury.

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