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Arrowhead Report: Wednesday, October 20th

Posted Oct 20, 2010

News from the Chiefs Training Facility, Jacksonville's QB situation and more chatter on flagrant hits

Head Coach Todd Haley scaled things back on Wednesday at the Chiefs Training Facility, opting to have his team practice without shoulder pads as they began preparations for Jacksonville.

“I’ll just go off of how I feel and where I think our team is and what we need and don’t’ need,” Haley said. “Today I felt like I wanted up-tempo and that’s generally, when we’re in shells, what we’ve learned to do is play fast. We’ll see tomorrow.

The change in dress signaled a different approach as the Chiefs held one of the most physical training camps in the league this summer, and have typically attacked early-week practices either in full-pads or, at a minimum, in shells. The practice itself actually ran a bit longer than normal and the players said that intensity didn’t suffer with the lighter attire.

“Physically, you’re just not doing all the banging, but the intensity picks up,” QB Matt Cassel said. “I think they were trying to take the tempo of practice up and you try to get out there and really execute and be mentally sharp.”

Injury Report

The Chiefs turned in a few surprising inactives on Sunday, scratching DE Tyson Jackson (knee), T Ryan O’Callaghan (groin), S Kendrick Lewis (hamstring) and WR Chris Chambers (finger). All were listed as questionable heading into Sunday, but had been full participants in Friday’s practice. In the case of Jackson and O’Callaghan, each was full participants the Friday before Indianapolis and all through the week of preparation for Houston as well.

Today, Jackson and O’Callaghan practiced in full again, giving the duo five consecutive days of full participation spanning over nearly two weeks time. Chambers practiced in full as well. Lewis and S Reshard Langford (ankle) were the only players limited in Wednesday’s practice.

Ellison Familiar With KC

Newest Chief DT Atiyyah Ellison hit the field with his teammates on Wednesday morning wearing #99. Kansas City is a place that Ellison is familiar with, having played at the University of Missouri and also Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas. He was a teammate of Chiefs G Ryan Lilja while at Coffeyville.

“We keep a short list, a hold-the-fort list and a future list, so we have a lot of lists,” Haley said. “(Ellison) was on one of our more important lists and somebody we had done a lot of work on. He’s a big defensive end who we feel like has a chance to fit here. So we’ll go from here.”

Ellison also has experience playing for this week’s opponent, spending the past two seasons in Jacksonville. Ellison played in 15 games, starting six, for the Jags in 2009 and notched at tackle against Kansas City last season. He was released by Jacksonville during the final cuts of training camp this summer.

“Atiyyah did a nice job for us last year as an under-tackle,” Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday via conference call. “He’s capable of playing a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme and is a pretty solid veteran guy.”

Despite his ties to Jacksonville, the decision to sign Ellison had nothing to do with preparing for this Sunday’s opponent.

 “It’s not a get-something on Jacksonville situation at all,” Haley said. “We worked him out I think at least a month ago; probably a week or so before we signed LB Charlie Anderson. He was here for a workout right when the season began and that’s something that we do on a weekly basis.”

The Jaguars carry a recent Chief on their roster as well. WR Lance Long is on Jacksonville’s practice squad.

A roster space was created for Ellison when the Chiefs traded 2009 third-round pick DL Alex Magee to Tampa Bay on Tuesday afternoon for an undisclosed draft choice. Ellison himself is a former third-rounder as well, selected by Carolina with the 89th overall pick in 2005.

As for Magee, Haley said that it just didn’t work out with him in Kansas City.

“It just didn’t work out,” Haley said. “I really like Alex. I think he’s a very talented, young defensive player that has a lot of potential and upside. I think that he’ll realize that, it just didn’t work out here. I’ll wish Alex the best.”

Quarterback Carousel In JAX

After Jags staring QB David Garrard suffered a concussion on Monday Night Football, it appeared that former Bills QB Trent Edwards would be in line to make his first start for Jacksonville  this weekend in Kansas City. Guess again. Jacksonville’s quarterback situation is anything but certain.

In addition to Garrard, Edwards’ playing status is also in question. Del Rio revealed that his back-up QB, claimed off waivers just three weeks ago, suffered a thumb injury against the Titans and would not practice on Wednesday. As a reactionary measure, Jacksonville signed two quarterbacks over the last 24 hours; Todd Bouman and Patrick Ramsey.

“Right now we have our two quarterbacks on the mend and we have two guys in today and they’ll be taking the snaps today in practice,” Del Rio said. “We’ll sort through it the best that we can as the week unfolds. Obviously we’d like to have our starter, David, first and foremost but he will have to be cleared by the doctors.”

With four quarterbacks on the roster and Garrard reportedly not at the Jaguars practice facility today, it’s looking more like one of Jacksonville’s newer faces has the best chance of drawing Sunday’s start. If that ends up being Edwards, he’ll bring an impressive Arrowhead resume along with him.

In 2008, while serving as Buffalo’s starter, Edwards completed 75% of his passes (24-of-32) for 273 yards and two TDs as the Bills routed the Chiefs 54-31 at Arrowhead (11/23/08). Neither Bouman nor Ramsey have ever made a start against the Chiefs.

Regardless of who starts, Haley is preparing for Garrard first, then Edwards, and then digging up film on the rest of Jacksonville’s quarterbacks.

Del Rio also said today that getting a starting quarterback ready for the game is the most pressing issue currently facing the Jaguars.

“I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time having contingency plans if David can’t go, which he has not been ruled out yet,” Del Rio re-iterated. “We’re hopeful that David would be able to go, and then we’ll work from there. Trent obviously knows a little more. Todd has been with us and knows our offense and we’ll get Patrick up to speed as quickly as possible.

“We’ll be ready come Sunday to find a way to come up there and get after the Chiefs.”

Hot Topic: Flagrant Hits

After handing out hefty fines on Tuesday, and bringing player-suspensions into the picture, flagrant hitting has ruled the news surrounding the NFL. Today, several Chiefs gave their opinions on the subject following practice.

Todd Haley: "I have addressed it (with the team). I think it's something that is very important to the league and very important to us as coaches, and very important to the players - that is the safety of our players. We will continue to coach the things the way we've been coaching them, which is to tackle within the rules of the game and we've done a pretty good job to this point of doing that across the board in how we play. The fact that we're not as low as we want to be, but we've been able to keep penalties at least within reason with last week being the worst so far.

"I think what's important for us is just to continue to coach the way that we've been coaching, because the rules haven't changed. That's what everybody has to understand. The rules have not changed this year. That isn't the case, there's just been an emphasis placed for obvious reasons of concern from the league and that's something that we as coaches pay great attention to and that we make sure our players understand. It's about keeping our players safe and, at the same time, its a rough sport. So we're just going to keep doing things that we've been doing them and continue to refer to the league as we always do in all areas."

Mike Vrabel: “Is it a good thing? I think it’s the rules and playing by the rules is what we have to do. If the NFL says that we’re going to play with eight guys instead of eleven next week, then we’ll play with eight.

“I think its awareness and I think that guys are playing aggressive. I just don’t want to see guys giving up big plays down the field because they’re pulling off or maybe hitting a guy low and tearing his knees up. It’s unfortunate, because injuries are a part of this game. I’m sure that everybody that has gotten the memo or been coached or told about what’s going on is going to try and eliminate it and not do it. But is it going to stop it? No, it’s not going to stop it?”

Brian Waters: “To be honest with you, I’m a little, how can I say this, a little torn because this is something that has been going on for years. I’m trying to be very careful with my words here, but the league came to the game very late on this to be honest with you. This is the same league that glorified big hits for years and there are football players that are still glorified to this day, we even saw some glorified on Monday Night for being big hitters.

“These same hits that we’re now fining people and talking about suspending people for are the same ones that were being highlighted before. I’m all about players safety, so anything that’s going to help guys keep from getting injured or their careers shortened or affected in the long-term, as a football player, and as a man, then I’m all for it. It starts in the locker room and on the football field; we should be coaching better technique and guys lowering their targets. I don’t want this to be a huge over-reaction to it where everybody gets lumped into one scenario. I think that every situation should be reviewed on a case-by-case scenario. If you’re going to error, error on the side of caution when it involves somebody’s health.

Matt Cassel: “I know it’s an issue. I think as players that we all realize that we play a violent game and that every time we go on the field there is a chance of injury. But I also know that safety is very important and that they are taking precaution that players are being taken care of.”

Quotes of the Day

"He's a rolling ball of butcher knives."

-Todd Haley on Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew

"I don't think we'll be on Monday Night ever again after that performance."

- Jones-Drew on the Jaguars 30-3 loss to the Titans on MNF


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