Kansas City Chiefs: Health is top concern as camp starts

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

As the Kansas City Chiefs kick off training camp for the 2017 season, the most pressing concern will be the health of the team as everyone gets up to speed.

As with most teams in the NFL every year, the Kansas City Chiefs are kicking off their training camp with a few notable health concerns. The NFL utilizes two methods for handling these players not yet ready to participate, the Non-Football Injury (NFI) and Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) lists. Both options mean that a player cannot be a part of team practices.

Starting out on the PUP or NFI list doesn’t mean a player will miss time during the season. However, there are almost always a few who do. Chiefs fans should remember this from the recent stints of Jamaal Charles and Justin Houston in 2016.

This year’s list isn’t really that big, though it does feature some notable  names. On the PUP list, the Chiefs have Chris Jones, Parker Ehinger, Tamba Hali, and Dadi Nicolas. Meanwhile, only Isaiah Battle is starting the year on the NFI. Obviously, the most concerning aspect here are the players on defense.

Defense Will Be Just Fine

Fortunately, the Kansas City Chiefs have built a pretty strong defensive unit. With Chris Jones out, the team can still role out Allen Bailey and Rakeem Nunez-Roches. That’s not a bad situation at all as Nunez-Roches gained valuable starting experience in 2016.

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Missing two outside linebackers is a bit more intriguing. For the moment, that should result in some depth chart guys getting more opportunities. Most people

expect Justin Houston and Dee Ford to start this year, with Tamba Hali and Dadi Nicolas being the likely backups. I doubt that plan changes, but some of the younger guys may get an opportunity to shine now.

As long as the Chiefs can move forward from this point, everything should be ok. The defense is deep enough to take these health situations in stride. Plus, it is the very beginning of training camp. so there is plenty of time for these guys to get healthy.

Tamba Hali Will Be A Headline

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In an interview following practice, Tamba Hali talked to the media on hand for the first full day of Kansas City Chiefs training camp. Hali made it clear that everything between him and the organization was resolved. He also said that he expected to start camp on the PUP list.

That should mean there is no controversy here, but of course there will be noise about it. You will have plenty of talking heads trying to play this up as a rift between the team and a superstar player. That’s just how it works.

If there was really some kind of a rift, then Tamba Hali probably wouldn’t have shown up at all. He’s made his concerns known, and done so publicly. Holding out would have been a distraction to be sure, but it wouldn’t have been something totally out of nowhere. So there really is nothing gained by him faking (or exaggerating) an injury as some will end up saying.

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All in all, it’s not a terrible situation for the Chiefs. Of course you would prefer everyone to be healthy and ready to go, but things in the NFL are generally less than ideal. The health of these players will be a concern moving forward, and it’s the first thing to watch for as camp progresses.

The Kansas City Chiefs are looking like a contender this year. This is a team with a very talented roster and high expectations. As we kick off training camp, we’ll start to get a better look at just what kind of team this is going to be. Football is right around the corner Chiefs Kingdom.