Chiefs Quick Hitters: Green Glad Roaf is Back

The Chiefs have seen what their offense can do - or, more specifically, what it can't do - in three games without left tackle Willie Roaf. Kansas City went 1-2 in that stretch, and its offense, the league's top-ranked unit last year, is languishing with a No. 12 ranking in total offense and a No. 18 rank in passing offense.

But Roaf, who went down after the second offensive series produced a second straight touchdown in the season-opening victory over the Jets, will return from a hamstring injury for Sunday's home game against Washington.

The Chiefs, accordingly, are anxious to see if the return of their cornerstone 10-time Pro Bowl tackle will have any appreciable effect on their offense.

Trent Green thinks it will, if only because Roaf's return should free up one of his prime receiving targets. That would be tight end Tony Gonzalez, who has been limited to just 16 catches and no touchdown receptions in Kansas City's 2-2 start.

"Tony wasn't involved as much (as a receiver) in our last game because we kept him in for protection and ran a quick passing game where the tight end isn't as involved," Green said, explaining why Gonzalez caught only two balls for 5 yards in the 38-31 loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 2, before the Chiefs took a week off.

"In past years, and even some games earlier this year, we were able to get the ball up the field more, which is where Tony gets involved," Green added. "We think that with Willie coming back and Jordan (Black) going back to the right tackle spot where he's most comfortable, we can create some situations where we get Tony up the field more.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to try to squeeze the ball into him more. We won't force the ball, as that only increases your chance of making a negative play."

CHIEFS PLAYER NOTES:
RB Priest Holmes had a monster game the last time the Chiefs met Washington. It was Week 3 in 2001, Holmes' first season in Kansas City, when he rushed for 147 yards on 43 carries and caught five passes for 78 more in a 225-yard, three-touchdown day in KC's 45-13 win at FedEx Field.

QB Trent Green had a 154.3 passer rating the last time the Chiefs played Washington. Green hit 21 of 26 passes for 307 yards and three TD's without a pick in the Chiefs' 45-13 win at FedEx Field in 2001, Green's first season in Kansas City.

T Kevin Sampson was back in Kansas City on Thursday for the first time since being hospitalized in New Jersey during last week's bye with complications of dehydration. Sampson, Kansas City's projected starting right tackle at the beginning of the season, did not work out, however, and will not play against Washington. Sampson made just his first NFL start on Oct. 2 against Philadelphia after recovering from a training camp toe injury.

T Jordan Black, who backed up Willie Roaf at LT when Roaf worked only once a day in training camp, then moved into his spot when Roaf went down with a hamstring injury in the opener, is back at right tackle. He'll likely stay there for as long as Roaf is healthy even though Kevin Sampson should be ready to play next week in Miami.

LB Derrick Johnson could be a big factor in trying to limit Washington quarterback Mark Brunell, whose ability to scramble and throw on the run makes him especially dangerous. Johnson, remember, worked daily last year against a run-pass threat in Texas quarterback Vince Young. And while Young is in no way comparable to the experienced Brunell, Johnson does have some experience in dealing with a scrambling thrower.

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