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Tribal Warfare
08-09-2011, 01:41 AM
Chiefs day in camp | Moeaki's back (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/08/3065197/chiefs-day-in-camp.html)
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

ST. JOSEPH | The wait for tight end Tony Moeaki to return to practice ended Monday when he participated in a morning walk-though. He also worked during a full afternoon practice on a limited basis.

Coach Todd Haley said the Chiefs had removed Moeaki from the physically unable to perform list. While on that list, players are ineligible to practice.

“He’s going to be with the rest of the guys,” Haley said. “It won’t necessarily be full-bore, dive headfirst into the water, but we’ll have to kind of acclimate him like we have everybody else.”

It’s unlikely Moeaki would play in Friday night’s preseason opener against Tampa Bay at Arrowhead Stadium but Haley didn’t rule out the possibility.

“I’m really going day by day,” Haley said. “That’s going to work well for us. I think it will keep us from getting ahead of ourselves and maybe doing something we might regret down the road.”

More important is that Moeaki be ready for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against Buffalo at Arrowhead. He wouldn’t speculate on a timetable for a full return.

“It’s not the ideal situation,” Moeaki said. “I’m out here today. It’s better than not being out there.”

Moeaki had microscopic knee surgery during the offseason, delaying his participation at camp.

Moeaki had a big rookie season for the Chiefs last season, catching 47 passes and scoring three touchdowns. Both totals were second on the team to Dwayne Bowe.

In addition to Moeaki, the Chiefs have veterans Leonard Pope and Jake O’Connell and developmental prospects Charlie Gantt and Cody Slate at tight end. Pope and O’Connell played for the Chiefs last season and combined to catch 13 passes.

“It’s great to get Tony back,” Haley said. “It was great to get Pope back. He was one of those guys that missed the first week. He’s starting to move around a little better. It’s a great opportunity is what it comes down to for a bunch of younger guys that haven’t played a bunch or in another year might not get the same opportunity.”

Gilberry’s role

Reserve defensive end Wallace Gilberry has been filling in for the injured Glenn Dorsey with the starters. Gilberry played well last season as a situational pass rusher, getting seven sacks. But he played little on running downs.

He added some muscle in the offseason in hopes of expanding his role, though it’s unlikely unless more injuries strike. The Chiefs would prefer to keep him fresh for pass rushing.

“I know why I’m here,” Gilberry said. “I understand my role. But if I can contribute more and take some pressure off Glenn and Tyson (Jackson), I’d be glad to.

“My body looks different, feels different. It looks like 2 pounds on the scale, but out here it feels a whole lot different. It feels like 20. I feel good. I feel fast. I feel quick. We haven’t got it going full contact yet, so I can’t speak on that part of it.”

Limited playbook

Given that the Chiefs had no offseason practices and their time on the field at camp has been limited by new NFL rules, it’s reasonable to expect the Chiefs to have only a limited number of plays available to them Friday against Tampa Bay at Arrowhead Stadium.

Offensive coordinator Bill Muir confirmed that will indeed be the case.

“This is a unique year and a unique situation,” he said. “If there’s a comforting point of view, all of us are on a level playing field.

“As long as I’ve been coaching, there are two things you have to be able to do to survive in this business successfully: be able to improvise and adjust. That’s certainly…what we’re doing right now.”

Offense

Steve Breaston made the play of the day. He deflected a pass that bounced off defensive backs Kendrick Lewis and Javier Arenas. Breaston then caught the ball while on the ground . . . Tyler Palko threw a short pass well over Jamaal Charles’ head, resulting in a Donald Washington interception.

Defense

Cornerback Brandon Flowers dropped an easy interception in a one-on-one drill. That prompted Todd Haley to shout, “Revis would have caught that,” a reference to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis . . . In what the Chiefs hope is an omen of things to come, Tamba Hali and Wallace Gilberry were in quickly on Matt Cassel on one play in a blitz drill.

Injury report

FB Tervaris Johnson did not practice. DT tackle Glenn Dorsey and WR Jonathan Baldwin started at practice but left early to work with the trainers.

Daily battle

The return of Tony Moeaki to practice is no small matter. The Chiefs have no one else at tight end who can give them what he does from a receiving standpoint. Leonard Pope will make the roster. Jake O’Connell probably will win the third spot.

Tuesday

The Chiefs changed their schedule. They will have their full practice at 8:50 a.m. and the walk-through at 4:10 p.m.

86 Monday’s high temperature in St. Joseph.

84 Today’s predicted high temperature.

47 Number of receptions last year by Tony Moeaki

13 Number of catches by other Chiefs tight ends