Hali, Bowe leading Chiefs

After a lackluster evening against the Minnesota Vikings the Chiefs hit their River Falls practice today with a crisp 90 minutes of work. What came out of it is a couple of players stepping up and acting like leaders and doing it in two completely different ways.

The first player was defensive end Tamba Hali. After missing the last several days with a gash on his forehead, he joined his teammates on the field today.

Hali, who has the honor of being the man that replaces Jared Allen, is under a lot of pressure to pick up the slack. After today's afternoon practice, it's clear to me that he's willing to take on the sack-leader mantle for the Chiefs. What was most impressive was that when the second and third defensive teams were on the field, Hali was vocal.

If you are going to be a leader, you have to do it by example, and you have to be willing to put yourself out there for your teammates. Hali was all over some of the younger players who were not doing what the coaches were telling them during 11-on-11 drills.

He singled a few guys out and told the backups they have to play at the same level as the starters. That shows that Hali has accepted the challenge to lead his defensive mates on what could become a top 10 defense this year.

On the other side of the ball, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe takes a different approach. He was bantering with the fans today as he likes to do, but when it came to route running, catching the ball and leading by example with his actions on the field, everyone paid attention.

To say he's the court jester isn't fair, because he just has a different style that draws you in and makes you pay attention. Bowe keeps it loose, but not so loose that business isn't taken care of on the field. He's taken to rookie wide receiver Will Franklin, and the former Missouri Tiger watches his every move.

Bowe also takes some shots at his quarterback, Brodie Croyle. Today he offered him a hug, but the third-year quarterback wasn't buying. However, what it did stir up was the camaraderie that is building not only with Croyle, but with every member of the offense.

The pressure on this offense is so great that Bowe knows if he can take on some of those expectations personally, he can lead in his own way.

Though their styles are different, both Hali and Bowe undertstand the task at hand in 2008. When they get the rest of the players on board, you might be able to raise your expectations to the point where you can expect more wins than losses.

Nick's Notes:

LT Herb Taylor - He replaced Branden Albert, who sat out the practice with a sore foot. The second-year tackle from TCU actually held his own against Tamba Hali for a stretch. Right now he's the best the team has as far as a back-up tackle, and if he can get some playing time the next four weeks, he could be a solid player in a pinch. He only gave up one sack in four years for the TCU Horned Frogs, so he has game.

RB Jamaal Charles - The ‘Texas Comet' was outstanding today. The knock has been his lack of patience, but Friday he did a great job of allowing holes to develop before bursting through them. He's getting a lot of reps due to the groin injury to Kolby Smith. The Chiefs want to use Charles in third-down situations, and if they can get him in the open field it won't be much of a contest. He needs to learn how to be an inside runner in the NFL.

WR Will Franklin - His game is improving and I spoke with wide receivers coach Eric Price after practice, who told me Franklin was the most improved wideout they had on the roster. It's difficult to come from the college level to the NFL but since the onset of OTA's to now, Price feels he's a strong candidate to lock down the number three job behind Bowe and Devard Darling.

LB Napoleon Harris - I'm not sure the writing is on the wall but Harris was relegated to second team again today, and in fact took some reps with the third team. It appears that Pat Thomas is KC's starting middle linebacker for the conceivable future. Harris isn't happy about the demotion but his linebackers coach, Gunther Cunningham, isn't going to give him anything until he earns it.

CB Brandon Carr - The Grand Valley State product made a great play today, intercepting a pass from quarterback Damon Huard. It was noteworthy because he stepped in front of the wide receiver, and it was a natural move, as if he'd done the same thing over and over again. It's also something you can't teach. He has a gift and he ran a lot with the starters today. The more I see of him, the more I understand why every single person in the organization singled him out after the draft.

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