The suspension of Tamba Hali came with a collective gasp from NFL circles as the Chiefs' star defender was pronounced out for the first week of the season due to an unknown violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. The news was hard to take not only because of Hali's previously spotless record but also because there's no other impact player on the Chiefs capable of changing the game so quickly.
Instead the Chiefs must now face the high powered offense of the Falcons without the pass rush of Hali -- one of the league's elite players. It's something Romeo Crennel focused on in several comments on Monday.
On whether the Chiefs are ready for the Falcons:
"You'd like to have all your guys all the time, but in this business, you don't have all of them all the time. So, you have to depend on other guys to step up and do their part when they're called on. Particularly at the outside linebacker position, that's what has to happen, so we'll have to rotate guys in there, and we will during the course of the week. I'll need all of them to step up and be able to produce. Are they going to produce the way Tamba produces? Only time will tell that, but they're not going to cancel the game and we're going to play. We will play, and I think those guys will represent themselves very well."
On what intangibles are missing without Hali on the field:
"I think that other guys have to step up and they have to be relentless. Like Eric Berry, he's going to be relentless with or without Tamba. I think other guys will have to play the same way. Tyson Jackson, he plays his game. (Glenn) Dorsey will play his game. It's the young guys that you don't know exactly what you're going to get from this scenario."
On the loss of Hali vs Flowers:
"...it goes hand-in-hand. The better pressure you can get on the quarterback, the better chance that the coverage can do a good job. When you talk about pressure on the quarterback, that's not sacks all the time. If you can get the guy off the spot and destroy the timing or knock a ball down. Those things like that, if you can just collapse the pocket and make the quarterback feel the pocket closing in, now, he gets the ball out maybe quicker than he wanted to. All those things impact the quarterback."