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Thursday NFL News and Notes

Thursday NFL News and Notes

NFL Preseason Preview - Miami (1-0) at Kansas City (0-1)
(Sports Network)

Trent Green will make his return to the city where he made his name as a quarterback on Thursday night, when the Miami Dolphins travel to meet the Kansas City Chiefs in the second preseason matchup for both teams.

Green started six seasons (2001-2006) for the Chiefs, throwing for over 4,000 yards three times, earning a pair of Pro Bowl citations, and leading Kansas City into the playoffs on two occasions. The 37-year-old Green, who missed eight games in 2006 with a severe concussion, was dealt to Miami on June 5th in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2008 Draft.

The veteran figures to get a warmer reception at Arrowhead Stadium than the one he received last Saturday in Miami. In his first appearance in a Dolphin uniform, Green was booed during a performance that saw him complete just 6- of-15 passes for 60 yards with an interception.

The Fins would go on to beat Jacksonville (18-17) in the preseason debut for head coach Cam Cameron, with backup quarterbacks Cleo Lemon (5-of-6, 56 yards) and John Beck (3-of-5, 23 yards) outplaying Green and running back Jesse Chatman turning in the highlight of the night with a 74-yard touchdown run.

Three veteran Dolphins defenders - end Jason Taylor, linebacker Zach Thomas, and tackle Keith Traylor - will be held out of Thursday's contest for precautionary reasons, joining injured linebacker Joey Porter (knee). Porter recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and his return to the field has not been determined.

While Green takes his place in the opposing huddle, his former team will continue its effort to identify a new starting quarterback on Thursday.

Veteran Damon Huard (2-of-4 passing, 19 yards, 1 INT) and second-year-pro Brodie Croyle (5-of-8 passing, 49 yards, 1 INT) were both less-than-stellar in Kansas City's 16-12 loss at Cleveland last Saturday night, and will be seeking crisper play against the Dolphins.

The offense will likely be without running back Larry Johnson, who as of Wednesday afternoon was still embroiled in a contract dispute with the club, though Kansas City fans should get their first live look at wide receiver and No. 1 draft pick Dwayne Bowe (LSU).

Running back Priest Holmes, who is attempting a comeback after a year-and-a- half away from the game, is not likely to play as he continues to get back into game condition.

Offensive linemen Damion McIntosh (knee) and linebacker Kendrell Bell (back) are other notable Chiefs not scheduled to appear on Thursday.

The all-time preseason series between the Dolphins and Chiefs is knotted, 1-1-1, with the (17-17) tie coming in the last such matchup, prior to the 1982 campaign.

Miami and Kansas City also met in Week 10 of the 2006 regular season, with the Dolphins scoring a 13-10 home win.

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2007 NFL Preseason Notes


Miami Dolphins - QB Rotation: Trent Green (1st Q), Cleo Lemon (2nd Q), rookie John Beck (3rd Q+), Gibran Hamdan (see below).

QB Trent Green will start before his old fans in Kansas City Thursday and play one quarter. Cleo Lemon is scheduled to play the second quarter. Rookie John Beck is scheduled to play the third quarter and into the fourth and Gibran Hamdan is scheduled to play part of the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins said defenders Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor and Keith Traylor will not play.

WR Marty Booker has missed practice time the last two weeks with a leg injury.

Cameron's goal seems to be giving as much work as possible to an offense that is under reconstruction and needs repetitions together in a game setting.

QB Trent Green was booed in his first action with the Dolphins, completing just six of 15 passes for 60 yards against the Jaguars.

A revamped offensive line contributed to Miami's struggles against Jacksonville as the Dolphins' first-team offense netted 64 yards in Saturday's victory.

Cam Cameron is the Dolphins new head coach, after being offensive coordinator of the Chargers in 2006.

Dolphins outside linebacker Joey Porter underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. He should miss all the preseason.

K.C. Chiefs - QB Rotation: Damon Huard (will start and play into the 2nd Q), Brodie Croyle, Casey Printers, rookie Jeff Terrell (see below).

Damon Huard will start Aug. 16 against Miami. HC Herm Edwards said the starters should play into the second quarter. Croyle will replace him during the second quarter.

HC Herm Edwards wants to see plenty of QB Brodie Croyle. "Brodie's going to get more snaps in the preseason," Edwards said. "Because he's a young quarterback, and Damon's a veteran. He doesn't need as many snaps."

Wideouts thin with WRs Rod Gardner (groin) and Maurice Price (shoulder), and TE Jason Dunn (back) unlikely to play.

Rookie WR Dwayne Bowe practiced with the team for the first time in training camp. Coach Herm Edwards said Bowe would play some Thursday.

The Chiefs had a different alignment in their nickel defense from what they had shown previously. Rookie nickel back Tyron Brackenridge was replaced by Benny Sapp, who played cornerback with Patrick Surtain shifting to nickel back. .5? Starting tackle Alfonso Boone, who has been limited because of an injured finger, should play against the Dolphins.

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said: "We're preparing for the opener (against Houston). The young guys will play a lot. We might (game) plan a little toward the end of the preseason."

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Thursday's starter report: Dolphins at Chiefs

Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs (-3 1/2, 33 ½)

Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron’s no dummy – he knows that Trent Green needs as many snaps as he can get before Week 1, so he’ll go with the same quarterback rotation as he used last week. That means Green could be in for the entire first half again against the Chiefs, Green’s first trip back to Kansas City.

Whether or not that’s a good thing for Miami backers is up for debate – behind a terrible effort from the offensive line, Green fumbled, threw a pick, and completed just six of his 15 pass attempts in an 18-17 win over Jacksonville last week as 2 ½-point underdogs. 

At least the majority of Miami’s first team will stay in the game as long as Green does to develop some chemistry.

"We're hoping to make improvements from week to week and get ready for the opener," Green told reporters. "Understand that this is the preseason and we are growing. We are a group of new guys on offense and a lot of young guys, so it's going to be a growing process."

After Green and the first-stringers check out, Cameron is expected to hand the keys to Cleo Lemon next and then have John Beck finish off the game. Defensive standouts Jason Taylor, Keith Traylor and Zach Thomas are all expected to sit out, but the defense looked great last week anyway.

Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Herm Edwards still isn’t sure when he’ll decide between Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard as his definitive No. 1 starting quarterback. Huard will start and play the first quarter tonight, with Croyle coming in after that.

“I think this game is big for both of them,” Edwards told reporters of his top two quarterbacks. “There is no doubt about it. If one surfaces, obviously you start leaning, well maybe that’s the guy, maybe that’s not the guy.”

Croyle was the guy taking the first-quarter snaps last week. He finished 5-of-8 for 49 yards to go along with an ugly interception in which he scrambled away from Cleveland’s pass rush only to fling an off-balance duck into Leigh Bodden’s hands.

“I tried to be Superman,” Croyle told reporters, “and I ended up making a stupid play.”

Huard wasn’t much better in relief either, going 2-of-4 for 19 yards with an interception, while former CFLer Casey Printers was 8-of-17 for 64 yards in mop-up duty during the 16-12 loss to the Browns.

The rest of Kansas City’s defensive and offensive starters should play into the second quarter against Miami. In other news, Larry Johnson continues his contract holdout and Priest Holmes is no closer to suiting up in his curious comeback attempt.

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What bettors need to know: Dolphins vs. Chiefs

Offensive uncertainty

There may not be any teams that have more questions to answer on offense than the Dolphins and Chiefs. Kansas City head coach Herm Edwards is still undecided as to who will be his starting quarterback come Week 1 of the regular season and his No. 1 running back still hasn’t reported to camp.

Larry Johnson, who rushed for 1,789 yards last season, has repeatedly said he won’t return to the team until he gets a new deal.

“I’m cautiously optimistic a deal will get concluded, but exactly when I can’t tell you,” Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson told the Kansas City Star. “I would say we’re still communicating. Are we real close? Not from where I sit now.”

Bettors should expect to see heavy doses of RBs Michael Bennett and rookie Kolby Smith in tonight’s matchup. Veteran Priest Holmes' comeback attempt may be done. He will not play tonight and, once Johnson returns, Holmes will probably be cut.

A diamond in the rough?

The Fish are settled at the tailback position will Ronnie Brown as the No.1 and third-round pick Lorenzo Booker waiting in the wings, but the story of training camp has been the play of Jesse Chatman.

The 27-year-old was picked up in the off-season in the hopes he might be able to make the team. After working his butt off for three weeks he’ll be the first to relieve Brown on tonight.

Miami head coach Cam Cameron saw firsthand in his days with the San Diego Chargers what Chatman was capable of doing. In 2004, Chatman averaged six yards per carry, totaling 390 yards and scoring three touchdowns as LaDainian Tomlinson’s top backup.

Chatman didn’t have one rushing attempt in either of the last two seasons because of a weight problem. He’s trimmed things down but still carries a heavy load. He led the Dolphins in rushing with 88 yards on only six carries last weekend.

Look for the 5-foot-8, 221-pound back to be tattooing Kansas City defenders in the second quarter.

Line ‘em up and knock ‘em down

Cameron is unhappy with the progression of his offensive line after a poor performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The coach says his line has to get better conditioned to avoid a repeat performance.

“We don’t have a first offensive line,” he told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel after practice Tuesday. “I’m not going to talk about who we’re playing (against the Chiefs) yet.”

Drew Mormino, Chris Liwienski and Anthony Alabi took snaps at left tackle on Tuesday while Cameron sorts out who will play in case injured LT Veron Carey is a no-go.

“I heard some cracking, and my knee is weak,” Carey said. “It is a young line, and we have to mold together, so I have to push through it. I get a lot of heat from the coaches to get the young unit moving.”

Carey practiced Tuesday and he’s expected to start tonight, but it looks like Cameron will have a few options if Carey pulls up lame.

Winning attitude

There are few NFL coaches who will tell you that winning in the preseason is important to them. Herman Edwards is not one of those coaches.

“When they turn the clock on and keep score, I want to win,” Edwards told reporters before the Chiefs' preseason opener. “Are you kidding me? This is why, and I tell it to the young player. I tell him: ‘You’ve got to show me and all your teammates that you can win a football game.’ That’s why we’re here. We’re not here to have tea parties and watch movies. We’re here to win.

“I always tell players, it’s better for everybody when you win. You get the night off. You can poke your chest out a little. And you don’t have to sit there and say, ‘Well, our starters played well.’ I don’t like saying that stuff. Win the game! If you win the game, nobody can say anything.”

The Chiefs didn’t win and failed to cover in their first preseason game, but Edwards has a track record for success in the exhibition season. He has a career 17-8 record straight up and 16-9 against the spread.

No sour grapes here

Miami players are unbothered by the prospect of veteran defensive players Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor and Keith Traylor sitting out their second consecutive preseason game tonight.

“If they want to play, they’ll play,” linebacker Channing Crowder told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel. “There’s no reason to go out there. Those guys are kind of geriatrics so you don’t want to go out there and get hurt. They’re great players. It’s not worth it, especially (if) Zach’s ankle is tweaked … Jason’s thumb and (Traylor), his whole body’s messed up. No matter what happens it’s going to be 0-0 after the game."

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