Training Camp Practice Report – 8/6

From St. Joseph, Missouri

Finally, in the eighth practice of the Chiefs 2011 training camp we had football.

There was the sound of pads crunching together, the thud of linemen wrestling at the snap of the ball. For the first time, the Chiefs were in full pads, or at least they were for enough of their Family Fun Day practice in Spratt Stadium at Missouri Western State University, to give the fans a taste of pre-lockout training camp.

Too bad there was not a big crowd to watch the session. Whether it was the hot, muggy weather, the steep $12 price for a ticket or a hangover from the lockout, but the stadium was nowhere close to being at capacity, and the crowd was much smaller than last year’s Family Fun practice.

Todd Haley had said beforehand that the practice would more closely resemble the type of training camp practices that we’ve seen in the past. He was on the mark, as the linemen battled in several portions of the 2½-hour session on the artificial surface.

There was an extra body on the field for practice as the Chiefs signed DL Amon Gordon, making him the fourth nose tackle now on the roster.

Here are some observations:

– BY THE NUMBERS: the Chiefs list 85 players on their roster, five under the league limit of 90 players. They had 82 players practicing on Saturday. Out were: TE Tony Moeaki (right knee), WR Jonathan Baldwin (upper right leg) and DE Glenn Dorsey (left knee). All three were in the rehab area.

– The guys that struggled with the heat in Friday’s practice were all back and working. OLB Tamba Hali was pulled out of several drills by the coaches, but he was physically fine. RT Barry Richardson took a full turn on the offensive line. FB Le’Ron McClain sat out the walkthrough session in the morning, but he was active and working in the afternoon practice. In fact, he looked good on several runs and showed his physical nature.

– NFL referee Ed Hochuli and three members of his officiating crew were on the field. Hochuli spent a good 10 minutes with just the quarterbacks and QB coach Jim Zorn talking about intentional grounding and other issues related to the quarterbacks.

– P Dustin Colquitt had a remarkable performance on Saturday as he punted nine times and eight of those kicks went for 50 to 60 yards. All of his punts had hang times of four seconds or more. Colquitt is game ready.

– WR Dwayne Bowe has had a very good camp, and that continued on Saturday when he caught everything thrown his way by QB Matt Cassel. Most of Bowe’s catches have come when he’s been in single coverage from CB Brandon Flowers.

– Cassel threw the ball better in Saturday’s practice than he has in recent practices. He was on the mark and did not appear to force many throws. Working in the red zone he was 3 of 4, with a pair of td throws to Bowe and one to jerheme Urban.

– ILB Demorrio Williams had a nice interception of a pass thrown by QB Tyler Palko. Williams dropped into coverage, read Palko’s eyes and went back further than expected. Palko never saw him drop into the zone and the ball was thrown right to Williams.

– Linebackers were covering tight ends in one part of practice. The tight end either blocked for a running play, or went out or a pass. If it was a block, the LB had to hold his ground and get rid of the TE. If it was a pass they had to get a am and then drop into coverage. The two OLB who looked the best in the drill was Andy Studebaker and rookie draft choice Gabe Miller.

– When he took part in a pass rush/pass protection drill in Saturday’s practice, rookie OLB Justin Houston looked very good, bursting past RT Barry Richardson on back-to-back plays. He exudes a pass rusher’s demeanor. As for the rest of his game, things aren’t going so well; Houston is not in the type of shape he should be physically and the mental side he’s struggling. “He’s lost out there right now,” coordinator Romeo Crennel said of Houston.

– Here’s your No. 1 punt team with Thomas Gafford handling the snap, Javier Arenas as the personal protector and Colquitt punting. The flyers were WR Verran Tucker and Donald Washington. The blocking front was Studebaker, Jovan Belcher, Williams, Jake O’Connell and Reshard Langford.

– So detailed was Haley’s plan that they practiced a pooch punt out off a FG set, as Ryan Succop hit a nice punt inside the 10-yard line, rather than a 54-yard FG.

– Gordon is 6-2, 305 pounds and was wearing No. 64 in Saturday’s practice. He played last year with Tennessee and Seattle. Overall, he’s played in 17 games after stints with five different teams – Cleveland, Denver, Baltimore, Tennessee and Seattle. He was a 5th-round draft choice of the Browns in 2004 out of Stanford.

– The players are off on Sunday, and will return to Missouri Western for Sunday night meetings and then practice on Monday.

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