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Arrowhead Report: Cassel is 'day to day'

Posted Dec 15, 2010

Matt Cassel returned to Chiefs practice on Wednesday, but was limited in his workload

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was back at Arrowhead on Wednesday and participated in practice for the first time since undergoing an emergency appendectomy last week. Cassel’s return was a sign of progress, but head coach Todd Haley isn’t ready rule his quarterback healthy enough to play just yet.

“It’s truly going to be a day-to-day thing,” Haley said. “I don’t think that there is any way to predict exactly how he’s going to move through the week, but he was out there and we’ll just update it as we move forward.

“It’s not your normal injury situation that you deal with and there are a lot of factors in play.”

Cassel dressed in pads and went through a number of drills alongside teammates and the first-team offense, but he also skipped several exercises as well.

“There will be activities that I will precede with caution throughout the course of the week,” Cassel said.

Cassel went on to describe his Wednesday workload as “slightly limited” in some drills and echoed Haley’s comments about his Sunday status. Overall, Cassel’s return to practice was an encouraging sign and one of the first hurdles that the quarterback must pass as he builds his case to return to the field.

“Medically, there are a number of issues that come up with a procedure like this,” Cassel said. “In terms of how I feel, I think that if I can go out there and do everything that I want to do without any discomfort or pain, then I’m going to go out and play.”

Haley carries a practice-to-play policy and said last week that Cassel would be subject to that standard as well. Cassel’s already cleared that hurdle. Last Friday, he attended practice but did not participate.

The nature of Cassel’s “injury” has the Chiefs taking extra caution. Cassel’s only a week removed from having an organ taken out of his body and, being a competitor, is pushing to play. He hinted that he made a case last weekend as well.

“It really wasn’t up to me; it went back to the doctors and our medical staff,” Cassel said. “Sometimes they have the guard you from yourself.

“Originally, I didn’t even know what an appendix was until they told me. I just thought that I was going to come in and take some Pepto-Bismol and then we were going to roll. Unfortunately it was a little more severe than that.”

The Chiefs still have two more practices before they’re required to label a game status alongside Cassel’s injury. They’ll likely use all of that time to evaluate their quarterback before taking a hard stance.

For the time being, Cassel’s day-to-day status leaves the Rams with two quarterbacks to prepare for as the two team head into Sunday’s Governor’s Cup matchup. Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo didn’t seem overly concerned about the predicament during his conference call Wednesday afternoon. He said that he’s preparing his team for the Chiefs offensive system, rather than for a specific quarterback.

“I’m not sure we do too much differently,” Spagnuolo said of the differences in preparing for Cassel vs. Croyle. “I think it’s more about getting our players ready more than anything. We need to bounce back from a defensive showing last week that we thought we could have been a little bit better at.”

Injury Report

Cassel was the only player listed on the Chiefs injury report. That’s good news for Javier Areans. Arenas left Sunday’s game after taking a hit to the back while covering a punt. Arenas wouldn’t return to the game, though it was announced in the press box that his return was expected.

Croyle Preparing/Mum on Reps

Practice reports, press conferences and individual drills are good ways to grasp the base of a player’s health, but the real clues toward playing status occur behind closed doors. Most of the 11-man scripts don’t begin until the media portion of practice concludes.

The amount of snaps Cassel or Croyle receive during those team segments represents a key indicator towards Sunday participation.

A starting quarterback will normally receive around 30 first-team reps off the team script, while the backup typically takes less than five. Neither Cassel nor Croyle would reveal how many team reps they took on Wednesday.

“That’s a good question,” Croyle laughed.

Cassel would only say that he took “a lot” of snaps.

As for Croyle, he says that he hasn’t lost confidence in himself despite last Sunday’s 40-yard passing performance.

“I’m fine,” Croyle said. “I wish that it would have gone a different way, but it didn’t and I’ve been around long enough to know that it isn’t always going to go your way. You just have to re-group and get ready for the next week.”

Waters and Wiegmann Selected As Fundamentalists

Chiefs offensive linemen Brian Waters and Casey Wiegmann have been named to the 2010 USA Football/NFL Players Association All-Fundamentals Team, both organizations announced on Wednesday.

The team is comprised of 26 NFL players (11 offense, 11 defense, 4 special teams), chosen annually, and based on an ability to consistently execute the fundamentals of their positions as well as for making a positive impact in their communities.

On the field, Waters was selected to the All-Fundamentals Team for his exemplary footwork while run blocking. Off the field, the 11-year veteran won the 2010 Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his financial help to struggling families in Kansas City and other areas through the Brian Waters 54 Foundation.

Wiegmann earned his way onto the roster by consistently opening interior holes and providing pass protection support through textbook blocking form as well as his swift and strong snaps at center. Off the field, Wiegmann spearheaded a fundraising effort that helped raise money to rebuild his alma mater, Aplington-Parkersburg (Iowa) High School, after it was devastated by a tornado in 2008. He also has served as co-chairman of the Chiefs First Downs for Down Syndrome program.

2010 USA Football/NFLPA All-Fundamentals Team – Offense:

NAME

POS.

TEAM

FUNDAMENTAL SKILL

Davone Bess

WR

Miami Dolphins

Route running and catching

Kevin Walter             

WR

Houston Texans

Catching with hands

Jason Witten

TE

Dallas Cowboys

Catching with hands

LaDainian Tomlinson

RB

N.Y. Jets

Following blocks and proper cuts

Vonta Leach             

FB

Houston Texans

Run blocking

Aaron Rodgers         

QB

Green Bay Packers

Throwing mechanics

Jake Long                 

T

Miami Dolphins

Hands in pass protection

Michael Roos             

T

Tennessee Titans

Pass blocking footwork

Casey Wiegmann

C

Kansas City Chiefs

Snapping and blocking

Brian Waters

G

Kansas City Chiefs

Run blocking footwork

Eric Wood                

G

Buffalo Bills

Pulling and run blocking

2010 USA Football/NFLPA All-Fundamentals Team – Defense:

NAME

POS.

TEAM

FUNDAMENTAL SKILL

Justin Tuck

DE

N.Y. Giants

Finding the ball

Kyle Vanden Bosch

DE

Detroit Lions

Pass rush take off

Haloti Ngata

DT

Baltimore Ravens

Pass rush bull rush

Jay Ratliff

DT

Dallas Cowboys

Pass rush use of leverage

Barrett Ruud             

LB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Form tackling

Jonathan Vilma

LB

New Orleans Saints

Angle tackling

LaMarr Woodley       

LB

Pittsburgh Steelers

Shedding blocks

Champ Bailey           

CB

Denver Broncos

Playing the ball

Antoine Winfield

CB

Minnesota Vikings

Coverage and agility

Antoine Bethea         

S

Indianapolis Colts

Open-field tackling

Darren Sharper

S

New Orleans Saints

Breaking up the pass

2010 USA Football/NFLPA All-Fundamentals Team – Special Teams:

NAME

POS.

TEAM

FUNDAMENTAL SKILL

Joshua Cribbs

KR/PR

Cleveland Browns

Kick catching and returning

Jason Hanson

K

Detroit Lions

Kicking mechanics

Sam Koch

P

Baltimore Ravens

Punting mechanics

Patrick Mannelly

LS

Chicago Bears

Long-snapping mechanics

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