Three Down One to Go

With a short week, the Kansas City Chiefs have one more game to work out the kinks before Sunday's final roster cuts. On Thursday Night, the Chiefs will face the Dallas Cowboys in the teams final pre-season game.

This will be the first preseason game between these two teams since 1996 when the Chiefs defeated the Cowboys 32-6 in Mexico City. The last time Dallas and Kansas City me tin the regular season was back in 1998, when the Chiefs 20-17.

Talk about tough. The Cowboys have a short week to prepare for the Chiefs. They played Monday Night at home and they looked impressive. Give credit to Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. His three offensive veterans Vinny Testaverde, Keyshawn Johnson and Eddie George made it look easy against the Tennessee Titans. Testaverde was 17 of 24 for 240-yards and Johnson caught eight balls for 81-yards.

Running back Eddie George was more of a washed up has been, but rookie Julius Jones the former teammate of Chiefs offensive linemen Jordan Black played like a veteran. Jones rushed eight times for 29-yards in the Cowboys 20-17 win.

For the Chiefs, it was obvious that the first and second team defense looked great against the Cleveland Browns. But how many players the opening day starters will play remains to be seen. The same could be said for the Cowboys. This game really boils down to the veterans and rookies who want to make one last impression on the coaching staff for both teams.

'd like to play our top people about 25 snaps – somewhere around that, offense and defense." Head coach Dick Vermeil said after practice on Tuesday.

Both starting safeties Jerome Woods and Greg Wesley practiced on Monday both are hoping to play in the preseason finale. Woods has not been on the field the past three weeks because of a hamstring injury. Wesley was suffering from a leg injury he sustained in the Rams game.

Still the short week for both teams could mean some sloppy performances. But this will be a good test for the Cowboys because they'll be doing the virtually the same thing in November. Dallas has to travel to Baltimore then fly back to play Chicago on Thursday for their annual Thanksgiving game.

But Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil doesn't think the short time between games will mean very much. "Ah, they just go freshen up and go play. They just rest and go play. They will probably play like hell. I know Bill Parcells. They will play."

One of the position battles that will be solved after Thursday's contest will be the teams place kicker. Incumbent Morten Andersen is still having a battle with Canadian Football League veteran Lawrence Tynes. If the Chiefs opt for the younger Tynes, it appears that the Minnesota Vikings are prepared to sign Andersen if he's released.

Still this game will serve as a final audition for some guys on the bubble. It will also be a curtain call for players who have no chance to make the final roster. For Vermeil this is a time when you have to get everyone's input.

"Oh yeah, you think about it all the time. That's my responsibility. I don't run from it. I do it with the staff and we sort of have something like a board of directors. We met about personnel last night until 10 o'clock." Vermeil said. "Had every scenario on the board and discussed them all. Every assistant coach had his input if he had something to say. But the final decision will be mine and Carl's (Peterson). Carl has the ultimate say. But more often than, I think he goes along with what the coaches feel."

On Sunday the Chiefs must be down to their 53 man rosters, the team after Tuesday's mandatory cuts trimmed the roster down to 76 players. The Chiefs received 11 roster exemptions for their NFL Europe players so they Chiefs will have to trim 23 players this weekend. On Monday, the Chiefs will set their practice squad as the focus shifts to getting ready for the season opener against the Denver Broncos.

In other Chiefs News:
Wide receiver Johnnie Morton continued to make strides with his sore Achilles heal. According to Vermeil, Morton has a legitimate chance to be on the field September 12th in Denver. The Chiefs despite their lack of confidence in Morton, do need another veteran receiver to step up in the event some of the young receivers struggle.

Jared Allen will handle all the long-snapping duties against the Cowboys but don't expect the Chiefs to part with veteran Kendall Gammons. He's the best in the business and Kansas City hopes to get one more season out of the premier deep snapper in the NFL.

One of the surprise cuts from Tuesday was quarterback Casey Clausen. The former Tennessee Vol standout simply got caught in a numbers crunch. Vermeil indicated that he wouldn't be a candidate for their practice squad but he didn't rule out the possibility that Clausen could be re-signed if either Damon Huard or Todd Collins goes down.


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