Friday Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Somewhere along the way these off-season workouts by NFL teams acquired the title of Organized Team Activities, or OTA for short.

It’s just a strange way to say practice. NFL teams are allowed to have 14 of these sessions along with a three-day mini-camp each year. New coaches get the opportunity to hold an extra mini-camp with the veterans.

The Chiefs will have their fourth session of the week on Friday. This one is open to the media, so we’ll have reports on Friday afternoon and Saturday on what happens during the session at the Truman Sports Complex.

The importance of these sessions is not hard to decipher. Among 32 NFL teams, from year to year there are about four or five that don’t really have any major additions to their roster or changes in their coaching staff or approach to the game.

That leaves 28 of the 32 teams trying to create something new and different each year and that requires time together, practice time and classroom sessions. Units with new pieces or ideas need to be able to work together. It’s far more important than actually going full-speed in practice against an offense or defense.

Helmets are allowed to be worn in the OTAs, so every player participating in the team work is wearing one. But no other pads are kosher in these drills. There are in fact a lot of restrictions to what goes on in these things.

The wording can be found on page 173 of the CBA, Article XXXV, Section 5. Miscellaneous:

  1. No club official shall indicate to a player that the Club’s off-season workout program or classroom instruction is not voluntary (or that a player’s failure to participate in a workout program or classroom instruction will result in the player’s failure to make the Club). Contact work (e.g. “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run) is expressly prohibited in all off-season workouts …
  2. During the off-season program period, except for the fourteen days of organized team practice activity and mini-camps, players may be (1) at the Club facility no more than four hours per day, no more than four days per week and not during weekends; and (2) on the field no more than ninety minutes per day. In addition, the Club may not specify to any player more than two specific hours a day during which it suggests that the player be at club facilities. Any player participating in an off-season workout program may select the other two hours in which he wishes to attend to conduct his weight training, etc. as long as he does so during the hours of operations of the Club’s weight room.

The question of contact is the tight rope that all coaches and players walk in these sessions. Hey, this is football and it’s a collision sport. Even with players geared down, it’s nearly impossible to go through a practice without some bumping and grinding. Over the years, many an offensive linemen has said they would just as soon wear their shoulder pads, given that eventually the activity against the defensive line sometimes gets physical.

Back on Monday during their first OTA session, Todd Haley warned his team repeatedly about going fast, playing with speed, but making sure they were not out of control.

“It’s really the first thing I said to them before each of the periods started,” noted Haley. “I said this is a non-contact deal and a lot of this is going to be learning and training how to practice efficiently and fast. Now we have the numbers and can come out and practice fast.”

Every coach says these things, but injuries happen. Just this week, the San Francisco 49ers lost CB Walt Harris to a torn ACL in his right knee when he bumped into a receiver during OTA action. Down in Tampa, new head coach Raheem Morris was cleaning up a mess on his team that came from a fight between OT Donald Penn and CB Aqib Taleb during a practice session. A noted hot head, Taleb swung his helmet at Penn but ended up hitting CB Torrie Cox in the face. Cox was jumping into the fray in an attempt to break it up and he bore the brunt of the punishment, with a facial laceration.

“We went out there yesterday and had a spirited practice,” Morris said of the Bucs. “Like I said, tempers boil over. Actions happen that you don’t like. You take it and handle it in-house. It’s a family affair. Then you come out to today and figure out how to change it.”

CHIEFS ANNOUNCE DONOVAN HIRE; FIRE NEWMAN

The Chiefs made official on Thursday what we told you about on Monday, that Mark Donovan has been hired. They’ve announced his title as Executive Vice President/COO. Donovan has spent the last six years with the Philadelphia Eagles.

He will report to team President Denny Thum.

What the team did not announce is that with the hiring of Donovan comes the termination of senior vice-president for administration Bill Newman. Apparently he will stay on the job until June 1, when Donovan comes into the building. Newman has been with the Chiefs since January 2005.

Newman’s departure pushes the number of people who have left the Chiefs at the executive, personnel and coaching level to 26 since the first of the year.

KIMBLE ANDERS MOVES UP THE COACHING LADDER

Former Chiefs and Pro Bowl fullback Kimble Anders was named the head football coach at Northeast High School. Last year, the Vikings were 1-9 with their only victory coming over J.C. Harmon.

Anders retired after the 2000 season and has continued to make his home in the Kansas City area. He has served as an assistant coach at Fort Osage High School, Mid-America Nazarene University, and Center High School.

Last year the Vikings were 1-9 with their only victory coming over J.C. Harmon. Over the last three seasons, Northeast has finished with a combined 7-20 record.

Anders played in 125 games over 10 seasons with the Chiefs, rushing for 2,261 yards and catching passes for 2,829 yards. He had 18 career touchdowns and was named to the AFC team for the Pro Bowl after the seasons.

SIGNINGS & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

COWBOYS – WR Isaiah Stanback undergoes surgery on right knee. He’s expected to be recovered for training camp.

DOLPHINS – signed fifth-round draft choice TE John Nalbone.

49ERS – signed CB Dre Bly (Broncos).

GIANTS – signed OL Tutan Reyes; released TE Martrez Milner.

LIONS – signed OT Ephraim Salaam (Texans).

RAIDERS – signed S Keith Davis (Cowboys).


13 Responses to “Friday Morning Cup O’Chiefs”

  • May 22, 2009  - Rip 'em a new one says:

    I’ve always thought it curious as to the name designation for NFL practice sessions, the rules governing the level of participation, and yes, the ruse for making many of them ‘voluntary’.

    Most folks work at their ‘jobs’ 50 weeks out of the year and none of that activity or work is voluntary. If you’re a professional at any level, in any field of endeavor, the same rules apply or should. Why all the pretense?

    Okay, rant over. Thanks for the update Bob. Once training camp starts in July, I’d be most curious to learn your observations and comparisons between camp Herm and camp Haley.


  • May 22, 2009  - Scott says:

    I agree, Rip ‘em. Seems like if you’re employed by the team…they could pretty much put you to work as much, or little, as they wanted to. Doesn’t work that way, though.

    Looking forward to the update later today. I kinda’ wonder how much, or what (if anything) they do different behind “closed doors”…as opposed to what they do with the media watching.

    And good luck to Kimble Anders. Great, under-rated player (except by us Chiefs fans, who know better) and a class guy.


  • May 22, 2009  - RedandGoldRice says:

    I always felt sorry for Kimble during the game. They’d be in full Marty-ball mode and repeatedly send him out in the flat for Bono (Blowno) to dish it off to him right before he’d get absolutely leveled, only to try it on the other side for the exact same result. It just seemed like such a waste of tallent to be stuck in such a stagnant offense.


  • May 22, 2009  - Harold C. says:

    We had a stagnant offense when we had Bono? I don’t remember the offense being stagnant…overall. We had one of our 13-3 seasons with Bono. When was it stagnant? LOL…remember that play against the Cardinals when we faked to Marcus Allen and the whole Cardinal team bought it and Bono lumbered all the way down the field for a touchdown? I can’t remember what yard line we were on but I think we were further away than the 50 from the endzone…LOL…I still chuckle when I think of it.


  • May 22, 2009  - RedandGoldRice says:

    Me too. That was one of the most awesome fakes in Chiefs history. I don’t remember the exact yardage either, but I do remember it took Bono a LONG TIME to make it to the endzone. It seems like we were still on their side of the field.

    I do remember an interview with some Chiefs players saying that year we went 13-3 with Bono they were in more of a “don’t screw it up and lose the game” mode more so than “we can beat anyone we play” team. Seems like it was Will Shields, but don’t quote me on that.

    Didn’t Anders rupture his tendon (I don’t want to even attempt to butcher the medical name) in his ankle a year or so later?


  • May 22, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    My Kimble remebrance is ‘not’ so pleasant… AFC Championship Game, January 1994. Joe throws ball, ball hits Kimble in the hands – ball ejects from hands same, ball – and with it Superbowl hopes – enters hands BUF defender. Like a bolt lightning, ‘Mo’ left, and ‘mentum’ with.

    Game, set, match: Buffalo Bills – AFC Champions.

    In 1993, Paul Hackett’s first season in KC, the offense still had some lusty semblance down the field desire. As it developed over the next few years it strangled itself via an amazing ‘demo’ self-restraint. By the next season 1994, Kimble was the leading receiver…as he was the season aft…and the next and- well, you get the idea.

    The Chiefs ‘swing pass’ offense- oh, what a sight it was. Carefully crafted nee constructed to take you down the field – sideways – & into field goal range…or almost a TD (Marty), most usually. And Paul Hackett fell so in love with it, that it was to become even more of a staple…in the forehead Chiefs seasons aft as well post season prowess.

    Take no chances, seek no throat, simply…try and find a small crevice…place temporarily to hide, disappear, and with it, take a nibble ra’her than a bite outta gridiron. Sometimes center the field most usually sideways, throw it to Kimble. Worked fine – wonderfully even regular season tho it was Chinese water torture to fandom or perhaps merely Worlds of Fun, sans any.

    Kimble Anders could have been more but as he was, embraced sufficiency most usually. Alas, like Dr. Richard Kimball – wrongly accused of a crime that he did not commit – Anders was blamed for a loss of momentum that cold winters day Buffalo, 1994.

    The fact is, the one-armed man this case Kimble’s most inopportune moment was joined later by Joe’s head…BUFs icy field, KCs frozen in place a step too slow defense – all guilty as charged…Kimble had help and lots of it.

    I don’t blame you Kimble…but if so also charge Schottenheimer, Hackett, Montana, defense…well, it is a team game.

    Coach…best of luck.

    :-)


  • May 22, 2009  - anonymous says:

    That was a 76 yard trot that “Oh No! It’s Bono” made.

    Trot is an accurate description, as the Cards D bit, hook, line, and bootleg.


  • May 22, 2009  - RedandGoldRice says:

    It was almost like watching the roulette wheel,…. come on black 7!!!!


  • May 22, 2009  - Scott says:

    It only worked because…nobody thought in a million years that Bono would take off and run.


  • May 22, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    “When was it stagnant?”

    01/07/1996 Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs L, 10-7 13-4-0 77,594

    Even if Elliott picked up those FG’s…that’s 16 points. High-powered for sure.


  • May 22, 2009  - SG says:

    “…ball ejects from hands same, ball – and with it Superbowl hopes – enters hands BUF defender.”

    Good career – sad that his memory is definitely that one that Rin mentioned.


  • May 22, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    :’-(


  • May 23, 2009  - ricky-poo says:

    “Good career – sad that his memory is definitely that one that Rin mentioned.”

    Definitely? I disagree. It’s not even the one play that sticks out in my mind with THAT GAME. Montana’s prone position in mid-air after being hit by Bruce Smith is the one I remember. Montana left the game with a concussion after that. The one play you all are referring to, I believe, was at the end of the first half and would have made the game 20-14. Buffalo was the much better team that day, anyway, and to say it was Anders’ play that made the difference is ludicrous.

    Anders was the best fullback in the league during his career. Just like Tony Richardson was. He was a gifted athlete and a good ball carrier. Only until Gunther Cunningham became coach was that realized. Cunningham made him his premier back until tragicly Anders ruptured his achilles tendon. That pretty much ended his career.

    I was sorry to see Anders go. He was/is a great man.




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