Don't expect to see much of Johnson in Chiefs' training camp

2007 season recap

Chiefs start hot, finish flat. The Chiefs started strong, going 4-3 heading into its bye week. But the team ended its season with a nine-game losing streak.

Key camp questions

Is Larry Johnson ready to go?
Johnson missed the final eight games of 2007 with a foot injury, opening the door for Priest Holmes' remarkable return to the Chiefs. Johnson was limited during minicamp, and don't expect to see too much out of him during preseason games. Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles figure to get the bulk of the work in training camp, fighting for the job to be Johnson's understudy. But Johnson figures to be ready to go by the time that the season starts.

Who will pick up the slack for Allen?
Allen was nearly responsible for a few wins on his own last season, as the Chiefs ranked third in the NFL in sacks. Now the team will look for a replacement. Tamba Hali has proven to be a capable pass rusher, notching 15 1/2 sacks in his first two seasons. The key will be second-year Turk McBride who is being counted on to make the leap this season. The team also converted tackle Alfonso Boone along with rookie Brian Johnston looking for a chance to replace Allen's production. The team hopes that somebody will emerge in training camp to win the job.

How quickly can the rookies get ready?
Part of the fallout of the Allen trade was the Chiefs' 12 draft picks in 2008. The team is clearly making a push to get younger. A large number of those rookie are going to be expected to make a big impact starting in training camp. They must if the team wants to be competitive in 2008. One of those key rookies is No. 15 overall selection Brandon Albert. The Chiefs were stung in recent years by the retirements of Will Shields and Willie Roaf. Albert is the first step in replacing those Hall of Fame linemen and he is expected to start right away.

Key position battle

QB Brodie Croyle vs. Damon Huard vs. Tyler Thigpen: Croyle appears to have the edge for the starting job after starting six games last season, but, publicly, the Chiefs are saying it will be open competition between Croyle and Huard. Some even think new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is leaning toward Thigpen, a second-year pro out of Coastal Carolina. But Thigpen is coming off a knee injury and that still appears to be a longshot. This should be one of the NFL's tightest quarterback races this summer.

Rookie spotlight

DT Glenn Dorsey: The fifth overall selection out of Louisiana State is expected to immediately start and stop the run. A tall order in the run-happy AFC West.

Player on the spot

WR Devard Darling: The Chiefs have legitimate receiving threats with Dwayne Bowe -- who had an outstanding rookie season -- and tight end Tony Gonzalez, but need some production from it's No. 2 receiver. Darling appears to have the inside track against Jeff Webb and rookie Will Franklin. But somebody is going to have to step up take some of the pressure off Bowe and Gonzalez.

Fantasy focus

CB Brandon Flowers: Running back Larry Johnson is questionable for fantasy, but still a first-rounder (keep a close eye on who wins the backup job so you can handcuff him to Johnson). But if you play with IDP (individual defensive players) the rookie Flowers might be a great option. Quarterbacks will likely target Flowers with Patrick Surtain on the other side. This could give Flowers the opportunity to have an Everson Walls-type rookie season, and at the very least, should give him a lot of tackles.

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