Pre-Season Practice Report – 8/30

From the Truman Sports Complex

Throughout this Chiefs pre-season, fans and media have wondered about the team’s quarterback situation and whether a veteran should be added to the mix at the position behind starter Matt Cassel.

Turns out a veteran … very veteran QB was already on the team.

Yes, Jim Zorn is 59 years old. And yes, he hasn’t played in an NFL game since 1987. But he’s still got it.

The Chiefs wrapped up their final practice of the pre-season on Tuesday morning and one of the stars was the team’s QB coach.

Here’s the scene: during a special teams period, the quarterbacks adjourned to a nearby field, where they usually work on mechanics, footwork, fundamentals and the like. On Tuesday, Zorn stacked two big garbage cans in the back right corner of the end zone. The quarterbacks were in the middle of the field, between the 10 and 20-yard lines. The idea was to put the football into the can.

It’s not a simple throw. A successful pass is based on accuracy and touch. Most quarterbacks can hit the cans, but it’s quite another to get enough air under the ball to drop it into the can.

Only one quarterback was able to do that on Tuesday – Zorn. Not just once, not just twice, but three times. In fact, three out of four throws at the end of the session, Zorn was right on the money. Cassel, Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi combined for zero throws into the can.

“Coach Zorn, he’s still got it, he’s still got a great skill set,” Cassel said after practice about his QB coach. “He made some great throws and he was accurate. But I’ve got to call him out on his footwork. He was drifting in the pocket.”

Tuesday practice was designed much like a Friday practice in the regular season. The Chiefs will have a walkthrough on Wednesday morning and then fly to Appleton, Wisconsin where they will spend Wednesday evening before heading over to Green Bay for Thursday night’s pre-season finale.

A few other practice details:

– Not participating in Tuesday’s practice was starting LG Ryan Lilja, making that three practices this week that he’s missed. Head coach Todd Haley would not address the injury or malady that’s kept Lilja off the field, starting with last Friday night’s game against St. Louis.

– Others not working at practice were C/G Darryl Harris and OLB Gabe Miller, while TE Jake O’Connell and WR Jonathan Baldwin did part-time work, but spent most of their time in the rehab area.

– On a pass play where RB Dexter McCluster went flying down the right sideline, who was running with him step-for-step? OLB Justin Houston showed his wheels on the play and had McCluster covered up, forcing QB Matt Cassel to look elsewhere for a target.

– S Sabby Piscitelli picked off a pass from Cassel to WR Dwayne Bowe in the end zone. Later CB Brandon Flowers grabbed a throw by QB Tyler Palko.

– K Ryan Succop hit a 53-yard field goal in practice.

– RB Jamaal Charles showed he could make a living as a WR, catching a pass over his shoulder that Cassel dropped in over Charles’ head. It was a pretty catch.

– The No. 1 kickoff return team has Donald Washington, Justin Houston, Cory Greenwood, Demorrio Williams and Sabby Piscitelli across the front. The secodn row was Jackie Battle, Andy Studebaker, Allen Bailey and Le’Ron McClain. Back to return were Javier Arenas and Terrance Copper.

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