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Chiefs Easing Larry Johnson Back Into OTAs

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Sounds like we'll never know the exact severity of Larry Johnson's foot injury last year, just more vague references to his workload. From The Kansas City Star:

That’s why the Chiefs intend to go easy on Johnson when offseason practice begins today. The Chiefs have 15 practice sessions planned over the next four weeks, including their June 6-8 minicamp.

"We’ll bring him along slowly," coach Herm Edwards said. "We’re not going to beat him up. We’re not going to rush him a whole lot. We want to see where he’s at.

"He’s been running straight and he’s been doing all of that for a long time, but as far as cutting and football things like that, we want to limit him some."

The Kansas City Chiefs may not have planned to put a full load on Larry Johnson during these off-season activities (OTAs), even if he had not injured his foot last year. Herm Edwards has to be getting weary of working his team's running backs as much as he has.

Here's a prediction of mine - You'll hear less and less of Kolby Smith's name this training camp. Jamaal Charles will step into that #2/3rd down role for the Chiefs, pushing Kolby Smith into relative obscurity over the next couple of years.

While you can make the argument that Smith was the Chiefs' best runner last year (He was the most effective runner, certainly not better than LJ as he faced lesser defense), I think we're still over-enamored with that first drive against the Oakland Raiders last November. Smith gained sixty yards on seven rushes, punctuating a bruising of the Raiders' defense with a ten-yard touchdown run. Smith ended the game with 150-yards rushing on thirty-one attempts. Impressive but the Raiders did end 2007 with the 31st ranked rush defense and Smith never approached that number of attempts or even 100-yards rushing the rest of the season (He actually had a couple of 80+ yards games, which is close).

Kolby appears to be a good scat back runner but I'm betting you Charles blows him away. Jamaal Charles' speed, coming right on the heels of a LJ power running game, could be a back-breaker for opposing defenses. The Charles-LJ duo will be much, much more powerful than Smith-LJ.

H/T to Direckshun in the FanShots section