9/11 Practice Recap: Chiefs Prepare for Manning

Against the Tennessee Titans, Justin Houston sacked quarterback Jack Locker twice, a trend he will look to continue for the Chiefs on Sunday in order to deal with what lies ahead:

13 Pro Bowls, five MVP awards, including one last year, and a 2006 Super Bowl victory.

His name is Peyton Manning, and if the Chiefs intend to get their first win of the season, they will have to beat him on his own field.

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"I think anytime you are dealing with the Peyton Mannings of the world, those elite guys, they're a great challenge," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "They have physical skills to get balls in tight quarters which is challenging in itself."

Making things more challenging for the Chiefs are the losses of defensive lineman Mike DeVito and linebacker Derrick Johnson, who ruptured their respective Achilles tendons in last Sunday's game against the Titans.

Johnson, who has been with the team since he was drafted in 2005, annually serves as the defensive leader for the Chiefs.  

Now, in his unfortunate absence, a silver lining is that opportunity has presented itself for younger Chiefs, something Bob Sutton acknowledged after the team walkthrough Thursday.

"Every time there's that void, it gives somebody else an opportunity to step into that void," Sutton said of the losses. "It may not just be the player that's playing that position. It may be another position that he rallies up and elevates himself up into that position of leadership."

With Derrick Johnson on Injured Reserve, inside linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga have become the benefactors of that opportunity.

"Everybody knows we've got to pick up the slack," James-Michael Johnson said. "DJ and Mike DeVito, they're both really good players. You can't really go out there and try to be that person. Everybody's just got to make a combined effort and lock in a little better."

Kansas City Chiefs practice on September 11, 2014 at the outdoor training facility before their game this upcoming Sunday vs the Denver Broncos.

As Sutton and the fresh defensive faces schemed on how to stop Peyton Manning at practice Thursday, the offense set it's focus on ways to get star running back Jamaal Charles the football after he only had 11 touches in Sunday's loss.

"Every game, Jamaal has to touch the football, bottom line," offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "We've got to figure out ways to get him the ball. Sometimes the game itself kind of dictates the direction in which you go.

"But with that said, Jamaal needs to touch the football. He's one of our most explosive guys on offense, and we've got to keep giving him the ball."

On what was the coolest day since the season began, the Chiefs practiced in shorts Thursday at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Facility with the game against the Broncos just three days away.

Disappointed with last Sunday's result, players and coordinators eyed this Sunday's divisional game as a way to get the wheels back on the track and hit the reset button on what could still be a very successful season for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Practice Bits

  • OL Jeff Allen (elbow) and RB De'Anthony Thomas (hamstring) did not practice; LB Tamba Hali (ankle/knee) was limited in what he could do.
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