When the Chiefs started practice yesterday morning, something was missing when they took the field. The usual Midwestern heat and humidity gave way to overcast sky's and cooler weather. On Friday in New York they are expecting rain and temperatures in the 60's.
"I get disappointed because I like the heat for conditioning purposes,'' coach Dick Vermeil said to the Kansas City Star. "But I can't control that so I don't worry about it.''
With rain possible and the injury bug already present in Chiefs camp, fans should not be to surprise if they do not see the starters in long. However Vermeil did announce that Eddie Kennison and Marc Boerigter should get to practice at the end of the week, but he does not expect them to play on Friday.
"I think Eddie might do more work and I think Boerigter might be able to do more work as we go through the week,'' Vermeil said. "But they would not play.''
After the weekend Samie Parker had against the Minnesota Vikings, Vermeil would said he will be getting a lot of playing time against the Giants. Also another player that showed promise was rookie free agent from Arkansas Richard Smith, who is supposed to start on Friday.
Parker did not play much during mini-camp in April, because classes were still going on at Oregon. Parker had to play catch-up in a hurry when signed with the team this summer. Fellow Duck Junior Siavii was in the same boat and is playing catch-up on the defensive side of the ball.
"It would be like never attending a class, then showing up for the final exam," Parker said to the Kansas City Star. "By the time I learn something, there is something new to learn, but I'm getting there."
On defense it seems as though Julian Battle as taken the starting spot at cornerback over Eric Warfield. However it was just during the morning practice, because Warfield was late getting to the 8am start.
Also on Friday Vermeil will have a chance to coach against his former Super Bowl winning quarterback Kurt Warner. Warner spent most of last season sitting the bench because of an injury he suffered against the Giants.
"Darn right. I hope they have a good offensive line. I don't want him to get hurt.'' Vermeil said to the Kansas City Star.
If an injury would occur the Giants would have their quarterback controversy answered. The debate between fans whether rookie Eli Manning or Warner, who should start is almost as heated as the presidential race.
Chiefs are one of the rare teams that do not have to go through that this summer unlike other NFL cities. Fans know that Trent Green is their man that should lead them to the Super Bowl down in Jacksonville in February.
Punt returner Dante Hall will get a rest from his regular return duties tonight. Second year running back Larry Johnson and rookie wide receiver Samie Parker will retund punts and kicks against the Giants. Dante Hall did twinge his back in practice on Wednesday and the Chiefs are playing it safe. Hall still might see some duty at wide receiver.
An interesting development could be the emergence of fourth string quarterback Casey Clausen. He has been very impressive in training camp. The former Tennessee Vol has a legitimate shot at making the Chiefs final roster if he performs well in the exibition season.
Look for running back Larry Johnson to get significant playing time against the Giants. He has been very impressive in training camp thus far and the Chiefs are eager to see what he can do in a live game. Johnson is battling Derrick Blaylock for the back-up job but a strong game against the Giants will give Johnson the edge in that battle.
Rookie free agent Richard Smith will start for the Chiefs at wide receiver tonight. He has been the talk of training camp and with the injury to Johnnie Morton; Smith has a legitimate shot at making the roster. Morton could be on the shelf for a month and that's given Smith the opportunity that he's needed. He also has a big fan in quarterback Trent Green who marveled at Smith's ability to pick up the Chiefs complex offense in short order.
Expect the Chiefs starting defensive unit to play into the second quarter. Kep an eye on the linebackers who have stuggled somewhat grasping Gunther Cunningham's defense in training camp. The Chiefs starting offense will only play three or four series. Kansas City is eager to get some back-up offensive players on the field so they can establish some depth on the team.
As noted on Wednesday, former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner will start the game against the Chiefs tonight. Warner has struggled grasping the Giants offense and first round draft pick Eli Manning is nowhere near game ready. He was wearing a knee brace yesterday in practice and some specuated that he might be injured. But that was not the case. Manning claims that's something he always wears when he prepares for a game. Regardless the Giants first round draft pick will be on the sidelines tonight.
For those living outstide of the Kansas City area, tonights game between the Chiefs and Giants can be seen on the NFL Network.