Cassel Practices As Chiefs Prepare For Ravens

The regular season is upon us. From here on out, the touchdowns count and the best players will play the entire game. The Chiefs have the distinct displeasure of traveling to Baltimore for the first game of the Scott Pioli/Todd Haley era, to face the perennially tough Ravens' defense.

For a team that lost its starting quarterback and right tackle in the last week, the task of defeating the Ravens on their home turf seems even tougher.

While Damion McIntosh will undoubtedly not be suiting up for the Chiefs Sunday, it's still possible quarterback Matt Cassel will. He practiced Monday with a brace and sleeve on his left knee, participating fully in drills the media was allowed to watch. In what is becoming true Chiefs' fashion, Haley managed to address Cassel's situation without revealing much.

"I think as the week goes on, we'll know a little bit more," he said. "We'll know a little bit more with Matt for sure. It was good that he was out there. He was able to get through some things. I think it was positive that he was on the field, though."

Haley added that how Cassel's knee reacts to the work it receives at practice will factor into his ability to play this weekend.

"I think yeah, anytime there's something wrong, how they respond to some work (is important)," he said. "It's good this is a long week. We got the extra day, and I think that'll help with anybody that's nicked up."

It's still unclear who will be starting at right tackle for the Chiefs in Baltimore. Ike Ndukwe would seem to have the inside track, given that he's been with the team a full two weeks. The only other right tackle on the roster is Ryan O'Callaghan, who is still trying to gain his bearings, though it may help having his former teammates in the same locker room - Cassel, Matt Guttierrez and Mike Vrabel.

"Knowing guys, being familiar with some guys kind of helps you out, to get to know some of the other guys on the team," said O'Callaghan. "Just ways of meeting people and the city itself, it is comforting, having some of those guys around. Once again, I still haven't had any time to talk to any of them."

Though O'Callaghan may receive leeway for arriving to the party later than everyone else, he knows that with KC's lack of depth at the tackle position, he'll have to contribute early.

"That's why they brought me here," he said. "That's why I'm here. If I'm not contributing, then why have me? That's kind of how I look at it, but step one is learning the plays. I can't do anything until I know what I have to do."

With such a large part of the offense in flux - uncertainty at quarterback and right tackle, Haley just a week into installing his offensive tweaks - there will be a lot riding on Kansas City's defense. Luckily, they've played well this preseason, and Brandon Flowers and Jarrad Page were back practicing Monday after suffering some slight injuries.

"I'm encouraged defensively overall," said Haley. "At least coming out of the preseason, I think that a lot of guys were asked to do some different things they're not used to doing. I think most of those guys responded. We've had other guys step in that look like they're going to help us, so as I said after the game the other night, I'm encouraged with the defense. Now, it's just going to be a matter of continuing to get better and you know, being able to do the things that give you a chance to win. Our defense is going to have play good football. I don't think there's any doubt about that."

Going toe-to-toe with a defensive powerhouse like the Ravens could serve as a motivating factor for the Chiefs. Flowers praised their defense's ability to create turnovers Monday and felt perhaps Kansas City could attempt to mirror it.

"We've been making great, great improvements during this preseason," he said. "We've just got to try to feed on the energy they're going to bring with their defense. We've just got to try to match it with our defensive intensity."

Nose tackle Tank Tyler, who was elevated to a starting position Monday, is also looking forward to the challenge.

"It's exciting," he said. "We want to definitely go out there and definitely outplay their defense. We all feel that if we outplay their defense, we have a good chance of winning the football game."

In other Chiefs news: The team added offensive tackle Barry Richardson to the practice squad Monday afternoon. Richardson was previously cut to make room for O'Callaghan on the 53-man roster. Top Stories