Countdown to Rams

Coming off the heals of President George W. Bush's visit to the Chiefs camp on Wednesday, the team went back to full pads yesterday as Kansas City sets their sites on cross state rivals, the St. Louis Rams on Monday night.

One area of focus that Kansas City continues to work is trying to mix some youth into their offensive line. The starters are set but still the loss of John Tait to free agency and the release of Marcus Spears has left a big void.

It appears that John Welbourn will move into Tait's spot but the Chiefs really don't have any proven depth at tackle though the free agent addition Chris Bober will upgrade their interior line.

Outside of Bober, the Chiefs are left with a lot of young guys on the line and two guys that coould claim Social Security in the next few years. The balance of the depth centers around rookies and second year players with little NFL experience.

What's left is a pair nine-time Pro Bowlers in Willie Roaf and Will Shields. Though Roaf, who generally only practices in the morning; is clearly the anchor on the line. Roaf who has only missed 13 games in 11 seasons. Consider a good chunk of his career was played in New Orleans; thats a major accomplishment.

During the off season Roaf thought about hanging up his spikes, because of ailing knee problems. But to his credit, he's worked very hard this off-season and he looks as good as ever according to Dick Vermeil.

"He's got a very good focus on what he wants to do with the rest of his career and the rest of his life," Head coach Dick Vermeil said to the Kansas City Star, "For a while, he wasn't too sure. I don't know if Willie really felt he could keep playing longer. Now I think he recognizes he can."

One player that Vermeil wished he still had on the offensive line is retired tackle John Alt. The former Chiefs standout tackle dropped by practice yesterday to meet with his lone teammate left from the ‘96 season, Will Shields.

The one knock on this years training camp in River Falls, Wisconsin has been the weather. Vermeil for one prefers a warmer client. With the amount of humidity that hangs around the Kansas City area until late September, he wants his team to be prepared for the midwest heat.

"The weather hasn't cooperated,'' Vermeil said to the Kansas City Star. "We can't get the kind of work we need for stamina development of the big guys especially because they don't get the kind of running that everybody else in the movement positions gets."

Still if Vermeil was looking for more warm air, he won't find it in Kansas City either. Missouri was a comfortable 70 degrees while Wisconsin was a blazing 65 degrees.

"We're going to play in some (heat). Normally it's our advantage early in the season if someone comes to Kansas City or we go somewhere in the high altitude. I'm very concerned about that.'' Vermeil said to the Kansas City Star.

Vermeil will get his wish this Monday night against the Rams, the weather should be in the 80's at kickoff. For the Rams, since they practice in Southern Illinois, where it has been hot and humid all summer; that could also work to their advantage Monday Night.

Chiefs Notes:
Wide Receiver Eddie Kennison has looked sharp since returning from his wrist injury in practice this week. Marc Boerigter has also resumed full duties in practice and both receivers should play against the Rams.

As for the rest of the wide receivers, the talk of camp this week has been Oregon rookie Samie Parker. It seems he's finally grasped the Chiefs complicated offense and along with surprise rookie Richard Smith the young duo should se significant action on Monday Night.

Right tackle John Welbourn missed practice yesterday due to soreness in his surgicaly repaired knee. The Chiefs are a bit concerned but the injury is not a result in working out on the field but instead the soreness stems from Welbourn's recent weight lifting session. If Welbourn has to sit out Monday's game, rookie Kevin Sampson could play a lot at right tackle.


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