Browns expected to challenge Chiefs' revamped defense
Lee Suggs, William Green and a healthy offensive line are the reasons.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Jared Allen acts like he wants everybody to stop saying that a coach was the only meaningful addition to Kansas City's hapless defense.
While it's true that new defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is getting most of the headlines, Allen is also making waves.
A 6-foot-6, 265-pound fourth-round draft pick out of Division II Idaho State, Allen is certain to get plenty of action at defensive end tonight when the Chiefs host Cleveland in their third exhibition game.
"He's not competing for a roster spot," coach Dick Vermeil said. 'He's competing to start."
Increasingly prominent in Cunningham's plans, Allen reminds Vermeil of Grant Wistrom, the defensive end who starred for his Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams.
Trying to turn around
The Chiefs' effort to turn around a defense that last year ranked 29th in the league could use a good dose youthful enthusiasm and talent.
"He will make a big contribution to our football team this year," Vermeil said. "Will he start? I don't know, but he's going to play a lot of reps."
On Monday night, in a 24-7 victory over St. Louis, Allen had a sack and Cunningham's revamped defense showed great progress.
But unlike the Rams, the Browns (1-1) do not have an offensive line that's been decimated by injuries and holdouts.
And there are other reasons to expect them to give Kansas City's evolving defense a better test.
Lee Suggs and William Green are vying at running back and rookie Kellen Winslow is trying to work his way into the mix.
Strength at running back
"There are several things that have been blatantly apparent in this training camp," Cleveland coach Butch Davis said. "One has been that our running backs are certainly a strength of our football team."
Vermeil and Davis both view their third exhibition game as key.
"We won't make wholesale changes in units like we have the last two ballgames," Davis said. "We will have some of the twos play with the ones and some of the fours play with the threes. We will just sprinkle guys into the game."
The Chiefs are in the middle of an 11-day, three-game whirlwind that does not make it easier for coaches to evaluate players.
"The starters will play the first half and come out for a series in the third quarter, but there'll be a lot of people rotate through that first half," Vermeil said.
Chiefs coaches have said all summer that this is the most competitive camp they've had.
"I told the players just a few minutes ago I don't determine cut dates, the size of the roster or anything else," Vermeil said. "but I do determine through evaluation with my coaching staff who stays.
"And we have more competition to make our football team right now than we've ever had. "