Tamba Hali Returns to Practice and Other AFC West News

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystSeptember 13, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 18:  Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Green Bay Packers on December 18, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

After a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali returned to practice. The Chiefs are hoping Hali will help get the defense on track after getting blown out by the visiting Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

According to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, Hali is apologetic and the team is forgiving. Everyone is just happy Hali is back on the field.

The pass rush was among the many issues Kansas City's defense had with Atlanta, and Hali has been the team's best pass-rusher for the last few seasons. The Buffalo Bills are not as pass-centric as the Falcons, but they are a better rushing team and will start dynamic running back C.J. Spiller in place of Fred Jackson.

Hali's job will be to pressure Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday, but good pressure means the Chiefs will need to be ready for Spiller to catch a lot of passes as a check-down option. That puts the pressure on linebackers Derrick Johnson, Javon Belcher and the safeties.

At least with Hali, the problems in the secondary should be easier to mask, and pass rush is one fewer thing the Chiefs need to worry about.

Here's a quick trip around the AFC West for other must-reads this morning.


Kansas City

According to Teicher, Bills' head coach Chan Gailey says Stevie Johnson never intended to hurt Eric Berry last year. 



Former Raiders linebacker Ryan Riddle recalls the most important play of his football career.

Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle says Darren McFadden monopolized Oakland's offense on Monday night.



According to denverbroncos.com, Peyton Manning is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post says the Broncos need big efforts from their backups.


San Diego

Antonio Gates is three receptions away from becoming the fifth tight end to have 600 career receptions, according to the team's official website.

Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that six Chargers missed practice on Wednesday.