The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

December 27, 2013

Chiefs' Daniel, other backups ready for chance

(Continued)

One player almost certain to get the weekend off is linebacker Tamba Hali, who missed practice again Thursday with swelling in his knee. Otherwise, all bets are off.

"If you play, the argument is yeah, you're staying in rhythm," Smith said. "You're keeping your timing, all that stuff. The speed of the game, you stay used to it. The negative, of course, is the injury risk. Not playing, the benefit is you're getting healthy and fresh. The downside is yeah, you're missing out on some rhythm and momentum heading into the playoffs."

That's where Daniel, running back Knile Davis and the rest of the backups come into play.

Daniel played earlier this season in mop-up duty against the Redskins and Raiders, and the results were forgettable. He was 4 of 8 for 48 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

Davis had emerged as a solid No. 2 option behind Charles, but then started coughing up the ball against the Colts. He's had trouble with fumbles throughout his career, so San Diego could give him a chance to get that in check as the Chiefs' feature back.

Then there are the guys who haven't gotten much playing time, such as linebacker Nico Johnson, a fourth-round pick out of Alabama. This could be their first extended playing time since training camp — in a game that matters, no less, depending on how you look at it.

"It gives us an opportunity to see these guys, and it gives them some confidence," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "If we can get them out there, get some plays in, it would be great. See what Andy wants to do with it, but I think that would be awesome."

No amount of prying this week could get the Chiefs to divulge their exact plans, especially with San Diego having something on the line. The Chargers can squeeze into the playoffs if they beat Kansas City and Baltimore and Miami lose earlier in the day.

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