From St. Joseph, Missouri
The off-season work was wiped out by the NFL owners’ lockout, so now is the time coaching staffs try to make up ground both mentally and physically.
And Mother Nature granted the secret wish of Chiefs head coach Todd Haley for the type of weather that builds conditioning and toughness. On Monday at Missouri Western State University it was hot. It was oh so hot! Temperatures hovered above the 100 degree mark. The sun was unrelenting and the humidity was off the charts.
In other words, perfect weather for training camp as the Chiefs went through a morning walkthrough that lasted 45 minutes and an afternoon practice session that went for 2Β½ hours. It was the same routine as Sunday with one exception β the entire team wore shoulder pads. Everyone was wearing them through the individual drills, or the first 75 minutes of practice. Then, they got to take them off. But practice wasn’t done, as they went for another 75 minutes.
There are a host of new rules and regulations as part of the league’s labor agreement that limit the length of practice, how much contact can go one and how often that contact can take place.
Is the formula for creating a soft football team?
“What I have stayed focus on is playing by the rules and working within the rules that have been laid out,” Haley said. “Once that done, it’s different than anybody on my staff that we’ve ever had to go through. We need to do a little outside the box thinking, because there is a solution.
“Much as I tell the players don’t complain, don’t explain, find a solution. That’s what we are trying to do, find a solution that is different than what we have known in the past.
“I’m not concerned about his team getting soft. We’ve been working hard for the last two years to be a tough minded team. That is the identity of our team first and foremost. The softness I’m not worried about, but we have to get them ready to play. We are going to do our best to get it right.”
Here are some observations of the Monday work on the field:
– Attendance at practice on Sunday and Monday was down considerably from last season’s first week of workout. Who can blame anybody, considering the heat and humidity?
– The player numbers remained the same β 59 taking part, despite the 90-man roster limit. TE Tony Moeaki (right knee) and RB Tervaris Johnson (right knee) continued to work in the rehab area and did not take part in practice. Right now, there are 13 signed free agents that will be available come Thursday. But even with that, the Chiefs will have plenty of roster slots left.
– The offensive and defensive line had two drills together in pads. One was designed for the run game; the other was pass rush-protection. Rookie NT Jerrell Powe had some nice moments in both drills. Powe showed great penetration when he split the A-gap between C Darryl Harris and RG Jon Asamoah. He also showed a bit of a pass rush, getting past both Harris and Rodney Hudson. He certainly got defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel excited at several points and he yelled encouragement to his big man. DE Alan Bailey had some nice snaps, including holding his position against a double-team run block exactly the way the Chiefs want it done. NT Anthony Toribio and Hudson had several good battles with both players holding their own.
– On the pass rush drill, rookie LB Gabe Miller showed he’s rushed the QB before as he blew past the TE trying to block him. Another rookie Brandon Bair showed he’s rushed the passer before, using his hands well as he battled with the OT. Cameron Sheffield had several nice pass rushes, looking good against inexperienced OT David Mims.
– At one point during the pass rush drill, Bill Muir shuffled his No. 2 line bit and Chris Harr moved from RG to RT, Butch Lewis went from RT to LT, Darryl Harris stepped in at LG and RG was defensive line convert Lucas Patterson. He’s having a tough time in the transition.
– K Ryan Succop got his first work with the blocking unit and a rush and he was 3 for 3 from 28, 33 and 38 yards.
– P Dustin Colquitt worked on field position punt and did a great job on eight kick with hang time and putting the ball inside the 15-yard line. S Donald Washington made a great play on one punt that was bouncing towards the end zone. He slapped it out of bounds at the two-yard line. It was a heady play by the third-year DB.
– FS Kendrick Lewis picked off rookie QB Ricky Stanzi on a throw that could have been grabbed by at least two other defensive players.
– No. 1 punt team as they lined up in the morning had Verran Tucker and Donald Washington as the flyers on the outside, Javier Arenas as the personal protector between Dustin Colquitt and snapper Thomas Gafford. The blocking/coverage unit from left to right was Shane Bannon, Andy Studebaker, Jovan Belcher, Demorrio Williams, Gabe Miller and Jake O’Connell.
– No. 2 punt team was Ricky Price and Jeremy Horne outside, Cory Greenwood as the personal protector and Studebaker as the snapper. The rests of the group featured Jalil Brown, Cameron Sheffield, Pierre Walters, Justin Cole, Eric Bakhtiari and Cody Slate.