The injury report lists Priest Holmes as questionable, meaning he has a 50-50 chance of playing in Houston this week after the battering he absorbed in last week's impressive 41-20 win over Minnesota.
There's no way any sore ribs or an aching back or a sore
calf is going to keep Holmes out of a game in Houston, the NFL locale that is as
close to a home town as the San Antonio native will find.
going to have tons of fans, people I don't even know, showing up -- and I hear
the tickets are very, very expensive in Houston," said Holmes, who knows he'll
end up purchasing most of those tickets.
Might as well give the people
their money's worth, because heaven knows the Chiefs are getting it from Holmes
again this year.
With 53 touches this year -- 44 carries for 207
yards and 9 receptions for 104 more -- Holmes has the same number of touches he
had at this time a year ago when he had 383 touches (313 carries, 70 catches)
for a combined 2,287 yards in just 14 3/4 games -- the fourth highest total in
But there is one huge difference between the Priest
Holmes of 2003 and 2002. He is, remember, coming off a hip injury that
short-circuited his season by nine quarters. An injury some people mistakenly
thought would endanger his career.
"He's got a running back's
body," coach Dick Vermeil said Wednesday after Holmes watched practice from the
sideline. "He took some pretty good shots all over his body, so he's sore all
over. It's like he was last Wednesday, though he was a little more sore today.
It was almost game time before he felt real good last week, but I don't think
The Chiefs have hinted that they'd like to
reduce the workload on their workhorse, who personally accounted for 38 percent
of Kansas City's total offense last year. Holmes himself says 18 to 24 touches a
game sounds like an ideal number to him, especially now that the wear and tear
on his body is starting add up.
At the same time, Chiefs coaches
understand that Holmes is a back who gets stronger as the game goes along. Last
week against Pittsburgh, after rushing for 78 yards on 16 first-half carries,
Holmes -- who injured his ribs and back vaulting into the end zone on a
second-quarter TD plunge -- was rocked hard after halftime. His first nine
carries of the second half produced only 13 yards, but his final carry of the
day was a turn-the-corner, direction-changing 31-yard touchdown run that was a
thing of beauty.
Offensive coordinator Al Saunders understands
the danger in trying to limit Holmes.
"You don't ever like him
taking those solid hits," Saunders said. "But, you can't be so protective of him
that he doesn't play and gets out of the flow of the game. If he doesn't get
into that flow, he's not going to be as effective.
make the proper reads, he won't be able to hit the holes like he normally does.
At this point he's getting abut what a starting running back in the league
After leading the league in rushing yards and yards
from scrimmage over the last two seasons, Holmes knows he's a marked man. He
welcomes the challenge.
"I do believe I have the bulls-eye on my
chest and that teams are going to go after my legs," Holmes said. "Not
necessarily to hurt me, but just to follow their instructions to, OMake sure the
guy doesn't get up.'
"But whatever anyone brings to me -D
whether I'm getting hit, bruised, whatever -- doesn't really matter, because I'm
going to be there on Sunday."
Just like he'll be there Sunday in
Houston -- sore, but available. Still, if there ever was a time for the Chiefs
to try to integrate more weapons into their offense, this is the
--Citing the need for depth at linebacker because of a
hamstring injury to backup middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell, the Chiefs
re-signed linebacker Quinton Caver this week and released reserve nose tackle
Tank Reese, an undrafted rookie free agent who was a surprise pick on the
initial 53-man roster.
"We're banged up at linebacker, and we
need more linebackers on our special teams," coach Dick Vermeil explained.
"Quinton Caver did a great job in training camp. He came within a deep breath of
making the team. He can play Sunday as a linebacker or on special
Reese became expendable now that Eddie Freeman, KC's
second-round draft pick last year, appears ready to return to action. Freeman
dislocated an elbow early in training camp and has been out of action until
returning to practice just recently.
"Eddie Freeman proved he's
a good player last year, and by mid-season he'll be even better," Vermeil said.
"He can play inside and outside, and Tank Reese is limited to the nose tackle
--The Chiefs re-signed wide receiver Chris Horn, who
made the initial 53-man roster, but was released last week after being inactive
for the San Diego opener. The Chiefs signed special teams player Curtis Jackson
when they released Horn, then reversed the process this week.
--LB Kawika Mitchell, who moved into the backup middle linebacker spot, probably
won't play against Houston after sustaining his second hamstring injury since
the opening of training camp. Mitchell missed more than three weeks of camp with
a hamstring injury on one leg, and now has a problem with the
--TE Tony Gonzalez worked Wednesday for the first
Wednesday in two weeks. He's battling a sore ankle and knee, which has been a
factor in catching only four passes in the seasons' first two
--KR Dante Hall, the AFC's special teams player of the
week after returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and a punt 45 yards to
set up another score against Pittsburgh, practiced Wednesday despite having a
--CB William Bartee, who missed the first two games
with an ankle injury, remains listed as doubtful for Houston despite hopes that
he might be able to come back this week. Dexter McCleon will likely start in his
place at right corner.
--DE Eddie Freeman may see his
first action of the year -- preseason or regular season -- after recovering from
the dislocated elbow he sustained early in training camp.
Larry Johnson, KC's first-round draft pick, may suit up for his first game
Sunday in Houston after being inactive the first two weeks. Johnson's has been
getting work as a gunner on punt coverages, and if he's up to special teams
work, the Chiefs would like to have him active for a game in which starting RB
Priest Holmes is ailing.
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