From the Truman Sports Complex
While the intensity of the play has not gone up in Chiefs practices, certainly the tone of the conversation has become much more intense and that’s courtesy of the head coach.
Todd Haley was all over the field late Monday morning as the Chiefs went through their second practice of the week. They have just one more full practice before heading to Green Bay for the pre-season finale against the Packers. Haley’s voice carried across the practice fields, as he was in the ear of any number of people, from QB Matt Cassel, to WR Verran Tucker, to TE coach Bernie Parmalee, to WR coach Richie Anderson, to special teams coach Steve Hoffman, to the offense as a group, to the defense as a group and sometimes to no one in particular.
The elevated chatter was not so much due to the 0-3 pre-season record, but because the Chiefs are screaming towards the start of the regular season. Haley was making sure his guys remembered what’s ahead and he was making the point that performance, consistency and intensity need to be pushed forward another level. Essentially, the Chiefs have just six practices before facing Buffalo in the opener.
Haley not only turned up the heat, but changed the schedule to bring it back towards what the team will face come the start of the regular season. That means early morning workouts, meetings, a late morning practice, and then more meetings.
“It was a good day today,” Haley said after practice. “I thought it was a good lively day. We were able to create a number of situations out there throughout practice and I felt positive about the way things went.”
Here are some details and observations from the session:
– Haley had the team in shoulder pads, but they were wearing shorts.
– Not practicing were the following β OLB Gabe Miller, LG Ryan Lilja, C/G Darryl Harris, OL Bobby Greenwood, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, TE Jake O’Connell and WR Jonathan Baldwin. Greenwood and O’Callaghan were absent from the locker room and the practice field. Miller has a hamstring pull, O’Connell a sprained ankle, Baldwin a broken thumb, Harris a sprained knee and Lilja’s injury remains unknown. However, he was very active in the rehab area and seemed to be able to do everything asked of him, from stretches, to weights, to riding the stationary bike.
– When the Chiefs went to the team-run segment of practice, Demorrio Williams stepped in for Jovan Belcher at ILB. Throughout the pre-season, Williams has largely been working behind Derrick Johnson at the weak side ILB spot. But the season-ending injury suffered by ILB Brandon Siler seems to have the coaching staff searching for versatility from Williams.
– Baldwin spent some time with strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark, but it wasn’t just running. Clark was putting him through some pass patterns and Baldwin was getting conditioning running different routes over and over. The rookie WR’s right hand/wrist remains in a brace.
– The offense got the ball to RB Dexter McCluster in the open field and he about caused OLB Tamba Hali to break an ankle as the big man tried to break down and make the tackle. Hali came up grabbing at air.
– Haley worked Cassel’s ear during a water break about being more vocal in relaying calls to the players once they are lined up over the ball.
– Working on returning punts were CB Javier Arenas, RB Dexter McCluster and WR Steve Breaston.
– CB Brandon Flowers picked off Cassel in a third-down period, on a poor decision by the quarterback to fit the ball into a very small area.
– Later on a 3rd-and-3 play, Cassel audibled out of a pass to run play and RB Jamaal Charles was stopped for a three-yard loss. Haley made it loud and obvious that he wasn’t thrilled with the decision to change the play.
– On a 3rd-and-8 play, Cassel hooked up with Charles on a pretty screen pass where LG Rodney Hudson took ILB Derrick Johnson out of the play.
– In total, the Chiefs offense ran nine plays on third down, and converted five of them.
– Cassel and Breaston hooked up on a nice play where the receiver caught the ball with arms out stretched right at the goal line pylon.
– RB Thomas Jones coughed the ball up at the end of a play, with the fumble forced by NT Kelly Gregg who was hustling down field. FS Kendrick Lewis recovered.
– Cassel hooked up with WR Verran Tucker on a quick in-route at the goal line and Tucker was able to beat CB Travis Daniels.
– Near the end of practice, Haley set up a “May Day” field goal situation where time is running out, the offense gets stopped in bounds with the clock running, and the FG team has to get on the field and set before time runs out. K Ryan Succop made the 39-yard FG, but the kick likely would have been waved off because OT Jared Gaither did not report to officials βhe was playing the right side end and because he wears an ineligible number (71) he must report to the striped shirts. A mental mistake there; Gaither is not usually on the end of the FG protection team.