From the Truman Sports Complex
“There wereÂ some encouraging signs.”
That was Todd Haley’s assessment of his team’s first week of OTA practices that endedÂ on Friday with a 90-minute workout in the muggy outdoors.
There were 81 players on the field for the workout, with 74 participating.Â Joining G Brian Waters, LB Mike Vrabel and CB Donald Washington among theÂ missing were DE Tamba Hali and RB Larry Johnson.Â Haley would not comment on any of the missing, other than to say none were a surprise.Â Washington is unable to attend due to NFL regulations.
Haley did comment briefly on Vrabel, who has not been partÂ any activities with the Chiefs since he came over in the trade with New England.
“MikeÂ is excited to get here and I’m excited to seeÂ him in action and see where he’s at,” said Haley. “We’ve been giving him the information, he’s been working, calling and checking in.Â When he gets here, we’llÂ know where we stand.”
The head coach also spoke aboutÂ L.J. and what he saw from the veteran running back during the first three OTA sessions this week.
“He’s made some runs in the last practices that I thought were pretty special,” Haley said.Â “I was very encouraged by a couple of those.Â A couple of those flashed at me and the coaches, where you say ‘Woo, that was pretty good!’Â
“If Larry continues to work, and stay on point, and do the things asked of him, he definitely has a chanceÂ to help us.”
On the field, but not practicing as they rehabbed from injury were Glenn Dorsey, Tank Tyler, Turk McBride, Brian Johnston and Maurice Leggett on defense, with Brodie Croyle, Kolby Smith and Tony Davis on offense.
What was encouraging for Haley was his team’s continued hard work and willingness to do things as the coaching staff has laid out
“The tempo of our practice picked up considerably, even today when it was fairly hot,” said Haley. “We ran each day after the OTAs and that got better and better as the week went on.Â I think it’s just about letting them know what we expect, them understanding that and there being not a lot of inbetween area.
“There was more scheme putÂ in on both sides and guys seemed to figure it out a little better as the week went on.”
Some observations from the workout:
– With Hali gone, Andy Studebaker stepped into the OLB spot on the weakside with the first team defense.
– With L.J. out of the action, Jamaal Charles ran with the first team offense.
– Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast has put in a lot of defense this week, as the Chiefs worked on the dime defense during their walkthrough and the nickel in most of the team sessions.Â Â Even in its most basic form it’s obvious that everyone needs to quit trying to put this defense into a 3-4 hole or 4-3 hole.Â It’sÂ going to be a lot of things, and it’s going to change from game to game, heck from down to down based on what they showed on Thursday.Â One defensive set in the dime had six defensive backs and five guys standing at the line of scrimmage.
– Draft choice WR Quinten Lawrence finally showed a flash of his speed, catching a nice ball on a long pass from QB Ingle Martin.Â Lawrence ran fast smooth.
– On the very next play, QB Matt Cassel tried to hook up on a similar play with WR Dwayne Bowe, but the play was covered perfectly by CB Brandon Carr.Â The difference in speed between Bowe and Lawrence was striking.
– The team finished practice with a punt catching contest involving the offensive and defensive lines.Â On the line was the number of gasers the two units had to run after practice.Â The offensive line grabbed the victory. “Our defensive line doesn’t have good hands,” Haley said with a smile.