Chiefs Player News: Johnson Ready for 1st Start

After back to back games scoring a pair of touchdowns, second year back Larry Johnson will be making his first career NFL start this Sunday as the Denver Broncos invade Arrowhead stadium.

RB Larry Johnson, with touchdown runs of 46 and 41 yards as part of his 104-yard rushing game against Tennessee, is the first back in Chiefs history to have two touchdown runs of 40-plus yards in the same game. Johnson has run for 222 yards when he played essentially in the second half of his past two games.

TE Tony Gonzalez was held to just 2-17 when CB Champ Bailey covered him extensively in Kansas City's loss at Denver in the season opener this year.

QB Trent Green, who has posted a passer efficiency rating of 99 or better in nine of 13 games this year, had his lowest mark of the season 53.4 in completing 16-32 for only 174 yards with no TDs and a pick in the first game at Denver this year.

FB Tony Richardson, who insisted he had the ball in his possession when officials ruled he lost a fumble at his own 17 in the final two minutes of what was a tied game with Tennessee last Monday, will play in a one-back offense should starting RB Larry Johnson be injured against Denver. The Chiefs don't have a backup halfback as Derrick Blaylock is considered doubtful with a knee injury and Priest Holmes is now on IR.

WR Eddie Kennison, no favorite of the Broncos after walking away from the team in 2002, has six touchdown catches in his last five games after getting two against Tennessee last Monday. Three of those six have come from 50 yards or more, including the 58-yarder against the Titans when he was left uncovered for a downfield throw.

Broncos QB Jake Plummer killed the Chiefs with bootleg runs and passes in Week One at Denver. KC's defensive ends simply have to both contain Plummer and pressure him into quick throws, as he will throw balls up for grabs when pressured. That rush will have to come from KC's front four as the Chiefs are too often burned when blitzing defensive backs and linebackers.

Offensively, the Chiefs don't see any one area of Denver's fourth-ranked defense they can truly exploit. Their wide receiving corps is more solid today than it was in Week One when it was essentially devastated by preseason injuries. This time if the Broncos choose to utilize CB Champ Bailey on TE Tony Gonzalez, as they did effectively in the season, the Chiefs might be able to find a better matchup against a lesser corner.

Denver CB Champ Bailey vs. Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez. Will the Broncos employ this unconventional CB vs. TE coverage for a second straight meeting of the two teams? Why not? It worked effectively in Week One when Gonzo caught only two balls when covered much of the day by the Broncos best cover man.

Broncos MLB Al Wilson and Denver front seven vs. RB Larry Johnson and Chiefs run-blocking unit. Wilson could play a big role in keeping brash young Johnson from going for 100-plus in a second straight game.

RB Derrick Blaylock, the designated backup to injured starter Priest Holmes, is likely to miss the Denver game with a mild strain of the MCL suffered during the Tennessee win. Larry Johnson will start in his absence.

DT Ryan Sims, who had two of KC's five sacks against Tennessee, says he hopes to be available for Denver, but did not practice Wednesday and remains questionable with an ankle injury.

WR Johnnie Morton, who caught a 30-yard TD against Tennessee, is truly questionable with a knee injury. He did not practice Wednesday.

RT Chris Bober, after missing the Tennessee game with a foot injury, practiced Wednesday and could be back at the starting RT position second-year man Jordan Black played last Monday.

SS Greg Wesley, who missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, returned to practice Wednesday and could be back in the lineup against Denver despite being listed as questionable.

FS Jerome Woods isn't sure he'll be able to play again this year with a bone bruise on his knee that has caused him to miss the past three games. The pain isn't subsiding quickly, and Woods went to Birmingham, Ala., this week for a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. Top Stories