The Chiefs will be without at least one defensive starter, maybe more, against the Falcons high-flying offense in Sunday’s regular season opener at Arrowhead Stadium.
Pro Bowl pass rusher
Including Hali, the Chiefs began preparations for Atlanta with five defensive starters on the sideline Monday afternoon.
Hali and fellow Pro Bowl linebacker
“You can never predict injuries,” Flowers said. “I definitely wanted to get back out there sooner during the preseason, but I didn’t.”
Flowers declined to discuss the specifics of his foot injury and Johnson took the same approach regarding the ankle he injured last week at Green Bay.
“The plan is to get back on Sunday,” Johnson said. “I’m a ballplayer so it’s going to be hard to sit this one out. If I can see progress every day and if I suit up on Sunday that means I’m ready to go.”
Regardless of who suits up and who doesn’t, Kansas City’s defense won’t be at full strength when Atlanta arrives.
Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said on Monday that he believes this year’s Falcons squad is the most talented group he’s been associated with since arriving in Atlanta seven seasons ago. The Falcons return as many as 18 starters from last year’s playoff team and pack a roster full of firepower at offensive skill positions.
“Obviously they’re a great team and have done some big things in the last couple of years and have a lot great players,” said
The void that Hali’s suspension leaves in Kansas City’s pass rush only widens if the secondary isn’t at full strength.
“It goes hand-in-hand. The better pressure you can get on the quarterback, the better chance that the coverage can do a good job,” head coach Romeo Crennel said. “When you talk about pressure on the quarterback, that’s not sacks all the time.
“If you can get the guy off the spot and destroy the timing or knock a ball down. Those things like that, if you can just collapse the pocket and make the quarterback feel the pocket closing in, now, he gets the ball out maybe quicker than he wanted to. All those things impact the quarterback.”
Replacing Hali’s impact won’t come easy, but
The rest of Kansas City’s outside linebackers – Studebaker, Sheffield, Jones and
“I think that other guys have to step up and they have to be relentless,” Crennel said. “Like
One of those young players is first-round draft pick
“It just means more guys have to step up, myself included,” Poe said. “That’s part of this game – people get hurt, people get injured.”