The Kansas City Chiefs have conerns with two of their biggest strengths on offense as they head into the Chargers game on Sunday. Both Tony Gonzalez and Dante Hall are banged up. On defense, cornerbacks William Bartee and Eric Warfield are also hurting. Here is the latest on the injury front.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez continues to tell people he'll be ready for San Diego after sustaining some minor tears in the same MCL he injured at the end of the 2001 season, but his health merits watching throughout the week. Gonzalez did do some light workouts at the Chiefs indoor facility on Monday and he's expected to play on Sunday against the Chargers. How much he plays will be determined after practice on Thursday.
Priest Holmes was held out of the preseason finale, but it was purely a precautionary measure. Holmes could have played, but as the Chiefs learned he had the same number of preseason reps as last year, they didn't ask him to take a chance on the hard turf of St. Louis RCA Dome. The Chiefs and Holmes continue to iron out a contract extension. Holmes made it very clear last week that he felt enough progress in his contract extensions were taking place so he will be ready for the season opener. Holmes had talked about possibly sitting out if he did not have a contract extension signed prior to opening day. He has however backed off that statement and will start on Sunday.
Cornerback William Bartee didn't play in the preseason finale against St. Louis after spraining an ankle during the short week of practice. He's truly questionable for the opener with the Chargers. The Chiefs are looking at the waiver wire and likely will re-sign either cornerback Corey Harris or Darrius Johnson who were cut last Sunday by Kansas City. However, the Chiefs are planning to bring in former Steelers defensive back Hank Poteat for a workout on Tuesday.
Cornerback Eric Warfield wasn't believed to be seriously injured when twisting his knee in the unyielding turf of St. Louis' dome in the preseason finale against the Rams. Like Gonzalez, Warfield worked out yesterday and he declared himself to be about 90%. He anticipates starting on Sunday and being at full strength.
Back up quarterback Jonathan Quinn, who missed one preseason game (Green Bay) because of a weather suspension and two others with a back injury, got a big boost in confidence with a 15-of-21, 231-yard second half in his only sustained preseason performance against the Rams. Quinn remains the No. 3 guy, however, because Todd Collins, Trent Green's backup.
Running back Derrick Blaylock supported his claim as Priest Holmes' backup with a five-carry, 64-yard rushing effort that included a long of 48-yard on the drive for KC's first-series TD in the win over the Rams. Blaylock needed a strong effort after rookie Larry Johnson amassed 203 all-purpose yards -- 77 of them rushing -- the previous week against Minnesota. But Larry Johnson looked good in the last two exhibition games and he might get a couple of snaps on Sunday if he is on the active list.
Wide Receiver Dante Hall appears unlikely to play on Sunday. The Chiefs were discussing bringing in former Steelers wide out Troy Edwards who was cut by St. Louis on Sunday. Edwards has been a productive receiver in the past with the Steelers but was traded last year to the Rams. He clashed with Mike Martz in St. Louis and the Chiefs are very interested in bringing him in and he could be signed as early as today if they do not sign a cornerback. Edwards can also return punts and kick-offs. If Edwards is not signed, then the Chiefs quite likely will have to use someone with no NFL experience on Sunday to help in the return game if Hall is unable to play.