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Access Training Camp: Blog - Ready for Arrowhead

Posted Aug 13, 2009

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THREE OF FOUR QBS LIKELY TO PLAY ON SATURDAY

August 13th - 5:36 PM

Head coach Todd Haley said after practice today that the Chiefs coaching staff has yet to set its playing rotation for Saturday night’s game vs. Houston. That will be a topic of conversation during staff meetings this evening. He did, however, say that fans are unlikely to see all four Chiefs quarterbacks take snaps vs. Houston.

“You’re trying to evaluate all the guys and we’ve got four (QBs) right now,” Haley said. “You try and get at least three of them in each game. Then whoever the odd man out is you hope you can get in the next one.”

GAFFORD CHIEFS 81ST MAN?

August 13th - 5:17 PM

The Chiefs could have saved some cash on airfare had they waited an extra day to sign LS Thomas Gafford. A resident of Houston, TX, Gafford took part in practice this afternoon after arriving in River Falls mid-morning. Had the Chiefs waited just 24 more hours to phone Gafford, he might have been able to hitch a ride on the Texans team plane for Saturday’s game at Kansas City. 

“He was with us the whole offseason,” head coach Todd Haley said of Gafford. “When we released him we told him to stay in shape and that the competition wasn’t over. It was kind of like our (place) kicking deal that I talked about, when having to be at 80 (players) this year it’s put a squeeze on same positions and those are the positions that got squeezed.”

Gafford seemed to pick up right where he left off with the team in June, easily finding his way to locations featuring special team drills. It was like he never left.

PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS

August 13th - 2:00 PM

It’s safe to say that practices have officially begun to scale back a bit leading up to Saturday’s preseason opener. Coach Haley shortened yesterday’s AM session and came back this afternoon with a practice in shells, marking the first day this camp that the Chiefs have not practiced at least once in full gear.

2:12 PM - Final walk-thrus in progress as we gear up for the final practice in River Falls before heading home for a much anticipated two-day stay in Kansas City.

2:48 PM - Earlier today QB Matt Cassel said that the team isn’t game planning for Houston, but rather focusing on their own installation (common across the league’s 32 teams). Haley has spent the early portion of practice running through each of the special teams units.

2:55 PM - TE Jake O’Connell is back in action today, making one think that he will be ready to go on Saturday. The guys held out of action today are RB Kolby Smith, G Wade Smith, LB Zach Thomas, G Tavares Washington and S Dajuan Morgan.

3:14 PM - Pretty slow out here today, but TE Sean Ryan just turned in a dominant goal line walk-thru period. Back-to-back-to-back TD grabs.

3:26 PM - This isn’t your typical Friday walk-thru practice. After a few periods of walk-thrus, the slowed tempo continued into the first few segments of team period. Apparently it shouldn’t have. Now, Coach Haley is after the guys to up the tempo…could be an interesting last half of practice.

3:42 PM - One aspect of the game that LB Derrick Johnson has been working on this offseason is his hands. The work paid off in another red zone period when he logged a goal line INT. The pass was a short one and it had some zip on it, making the pick pretty impressive.

3:55 PM - Line ‘em up, time for a cool off…next stop is Kansas City.

CHIEFS SWAP SNAPPERS

August 13th - 1:20 PM

The Chiefs decided to re-swap long snappers on Thursday morning, waiving Tanner Purdum and signing Thomas Gafford. Purdum was a local product from nearby Baker University (KS) trying to make the team as a rookie free agent. Gafford spent the final nine games of 2008 as the Chiefs long snapper after J.P. Darche suffered a season-ending injury.

Gafford and Purdum battled through most of the offseason workouts before Gafford was released on June 19th.

EVALUATION IS CRITICAL THIS PRESEASON

August 13th - 10:09 AM

Opportunity knocks in the preseason. Players play, Coaches coach and the film doesn’t lie. Preseason games don’t count in the standings, but the progress and evaluation that takes place over the course of camp can go a long way in readying a football team for the real deal.

“It’s important to everybody and it goes fast and doesn’t seem long enough,” head coach Todd Haley said about the preseason. “For us, personally, the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s critical to our success down the road.”

The second half of that statement screams “evaluation.” Roster evaluation is a critical part of this preseason for both the coaching staff and front office. Those charged with leading this franchise need to find out what type of players this team has.

Can these players take what they’ve been taught at camp and transfer it to the field on gameday?

Who is realiable?

Who is willing to do things the “new” Chiefs way?

These are basic, but critical, questions that must be answered this preseason. Evaluation of each player has already begun, but a new phase of that process will begin on Saturday.

SATURDAY’S STARTERS?

August 13th - 8:47 AM

As of right now there is no 100% certainty as to who will take the field when the Chiefs open up their first offensive and defensive sets of the 2009 preseason on Saturday night. Head Coach Todd Haley has repeatedly told anyone that will listen that the first-team units have yet to be set. In fact, he’s sent warning that they can change daily.

The most recent Chiefs depth chart was published on Monday and, with six camp practices between Monday and Saturday’s game, there has been and still is plenty of room for changes. Even the players penciled in as starters aren’t reading into anything depth chart related.

“I’ve just got to keep working hard regardless of what’s on the depth chart,” said WR Terrance Copper, who was listed with the first-team offense on Monday. “Everything I do I just work hard. I don’t loook at the depth charts or where I’m at because if i don’t continue to do the right things I won’t be there.”

Eventually names and will need to be set in ink, maybe we’ll learn more about that after today’s practice (one practice today - 1:50 PM). Haley said yesterday that he and his staff were to have discussions about scripted playing time last night.

For Haley, however, it doesn’t matter who lines up with which group. The important part is being on the same page and buying into the new Chiefs way.

“I would say the most important thing is does everybody know what to do and then how well we are doing it,” Haley said of his expectations for players on Saturday. “Going all the way back to OTAs, we want guys who do it the way we want it done, the way they’re being coached to do it and then how well they are doing it.”

Less than 48 hours remain until gameday.

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