One of the most competitive battles in Chiefs camp is at nose tackle, where Anthony Toribio is starting ahead of first-round pick Dontari Poe and second-year man Jerrell Powe, a sixth-round pick in 2011.
Toribio made solo tackles in each of the No. 1 defense’s series during the preseason opener Friday against Arizona, stopping LaRod Stephens-Howling in his tracks after a 1-yard gain; and dropping Alfonso Smith for a 1-yard loss. Powe was credited with a sack. Poe did not scratch the scoresheet.
“Toribio made some plays, which we liked,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. “The young Poe, he’s still learning, and he gave good effort. He’s trying to learn to do the things the way we want them. He’s not there yet.
But this quick start — the starting offense had just two possessions, but they both went for 72 yards and resulted in touchdowns — was beyond what the Chiefs expected.
“Generally, you don’t think you’re going to drive it 12 plays and score on the first drive,” coach Romeo Crennel said. “You figure that if you can get a first down and maybe two first downs, that would be a good start. To drive it all the way down and score, that was better than usual, better than I expected.
Running back Jamaal Charles darted and dashed through the defense during 11-on-11 drills. Tight end Kevin Boss snared a pass thrown behind him by Matt Cassel, taking it from cornerback Jailil Brown. In the scoring zone session, wide receiver Jon Baldwin leaped high over nickel back Javier Arenas and caught a touchdown pass from Cassel. Running back Shaun Draughn scored on a 5-yard sweep. Second-team quarterback Ricky Stanzi hit rookie Devon Wylie in the corner of the end zone.
Meanwhile, Toribio picked up a tackle for loss in the first quarter and second-year nose Jerrell Powe bull-rushed his way to a sack late in the third. During the stretch in between, Poe got the bulk of the snaps and was just kind of — there. Thinking first, reacting second.
“In a 3-4, that would kind of mess you up,” Toribio explained. “You don’t want to think too much. In a 3-4, you just want to react to everything.”
Poe will acclimate to the speed, the tempo, the reads. Eventually.
The head coach said his offense will need to keep up their pace against the Rams this weekend.
“You temper it because this one didn’t count,” said Crennel “But, I think you have to acknowledge that what they did was good. The first half was a good first half. The first units did a good job, and so you have to acknowledge that. And, you do have to protect against them getting a big head because everyone else is telling the how great they are, but they are not great yet.”