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Chiefs Notebook: Poe prepares for increased role in regular season debut

Posted Sep 5, 2012

First-round draft pick Dontari Poe started for injured nose tackle Anthony Toribio in the Chiefs preseason finale


Chiefs nose tackle Anthony Toribio spent his second practice of the week riding a stationary bicycle on Wednesday, increasing the chances first-round draft pick Dontari Poe draws his first NFL start on opening day.

Toribio, who turned in a standout training camp, injured his ankle in the first half of Kansas City’s third preseason game against Seattle and hasn’t practiced since. Poe drew the start at nose tackle Toribio’s absence during last week’s preseason finale at Green Bay and would be the leading candidate to do so again on Sunday according to the Chiefs most recent depth chart.

“I’ll be kind of nervous and excited, all of those emotions all in one,” Poe said of potentially making his first NFL start on Sunday. “I’ll have to bundle all of that up and go out there to do what I’m used to doing. I’ve got to settle down, keep myself calm and do what this defense needs.”

Poe spent most of the preseason working as a reserve in Kansas City’s base defense. The majority of his first-team reps came on passing downs when Romeo Crennel’s defensive scheme allowed him to play a technique similar to what he was asked to do at the University of Memphis.

The learning curve for nose tackles in a base 3-4 defense is traditionally steep, but Poe could be tested faster than originally anticipated. Second-year nose tackle Jerrell Powe is listed third on Kansas City’s depth chart behind Poe.

“I’m feeling better with the technique and feel like I’m progressing every day, but it’s a long learning curve that I have to keep at every day,” Poe said of transitioning into Crennel’s 3-4 defensive system.

Kansas City held Green Bay’s run game to an average of 1.9 yards per carry with Poe contributing as the anchor of the defensive front in the fourth preseason game. The rookie will face a much larger sample size if he draws the start against Atlanta and will immediately factor into one of the key storylines of the game.

Much is made of Atlanta’s potent passing attack, but the Falcons averaged 124.8 rushing yards in four road wins last season. In four road losses, the Falcons were held to a rushing average of 45.5 yards per game.

“The nerves will intensify as we get closer to the game, but I just have to keep my focus and play my game,” Poe said.

The last Chiefs first-round draft pick to start on opening day was safety Eric Berry in 2010.

Arenas linked to Gonzalez trade

Chiefs cornerback Javier Arenas was finishing up the spring semester of his junior year at the University of Alabama when Kansas City traded tight end Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta for a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Tuscaloosa, Ala. is close enough to Atlanta that Arenas took notice of the trade, but he never imagined he’d be forever linked to the deal. The Chiefs obtained what would become the 50th overall pick in the 2010 draft and used the selection on Arenas.

With Gonzalez making his first (and final) return to Arrowhead Stadium since the trade, Arenas understands his connection to the deal will be brought to light in Sunday’s broadcast.

“I don’t really look at it that way,” Arenas said of being linked to Gonzalez. “He is his own man and he has his own legacy. I understand that I’m a small part of it being the pick that was part of that trade, but he is who he is and I’m trying to build my own career.”

As for defending Gonzalez, Arenas hasn’t seen much decline in the 36-year old tight end.

“He’s the greatest tight end to ever play the game is always going to be a threat, so you have to respect that,” Arenas said. “To me, he’s just as good right now as he was back here when he was in his prime. He’s still a dominant tight end in my eyes.”

Captains Announced

The Chiefs voted on 2012 team captains Wednesday afternoon, selecting two representatives from the offense, defense and special teams units.

The offense is represented by quarterback Matt Cassel and left guard Ryan Lilja.

Defensive Chiefs captains are linebacker Derrick Johnson and safety Eric Berry.

Wide receiver Terrance Copper and punter Dustin Colquitt represent the special teams.

Kansas City Chiefs Injury Report

Player

Pos.

Injury

Wed.

Thurs.

Fri.

Game Status

Anthony Toribio

DT

Ankle

DNP

Allen Bailey

DL

Ankle

DNP

Kendrick Lewis

S

Shoulder

DNP

Derrick Johnson

LB

Ankle

LP

Jalil Brown

CB

Groin

LP

Brandon Flowers

CB

Foot

LP

Atlanta Falcons Injury Report

Player

Pos.

Injury

Wed.

Thurs.

Fri.

Game Status

Christopher Owens

CB

Hamstring

LP

Jason Snelling

RB

Calf

LP

Out = definitely will not play

Did Not Practice (DNP)

Limited Participation (LP) = less than 100% of a player’s normal repetitions

Full Participation (FP) = 100% of a player’s normal repetitions

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