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Camp Notebook: Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki return to action

Posted Jul 27, 2012

Chiefs Training Camp Notebook Presented by Heartland Health

Returning to the football field became a reality for a bundle of previously injured Chiefs players Friday afternoon.

Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki , victims of season-ending left knee injuries almost one year ago, passed their final physicals on Thursday and were cleared to fully participate in training camp. All three returned to see first-team reps with their respective position groups.

“I feel good and I feel like I have my mojo back,” said Charles, who rotated with Peyton Hillis in the first-team backfield. “I felt comfortable being back out there and I’m ready to go.”

Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Siler returned to action as well.

Lewis, who partnered with Berry as the Chiefs first-team safeties, had offseason surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. He suffered the injury forcing a Tim Tebow fumble in last year’s season finale. Siler tore his Achilles tendon last preseason.

“We’ll put them in there and they’re going to do everything,” head coach Romeo Crennel said of the players returning from injury. “The only thing that we might do is we might limit their reps. If they’re going to get 50 reps in a day, we might cut it to 40. They’re good to go. They’re going to do everything.” 

Three players were absent from Friday’s first practice.

Crennel excused reserve defensive back Jacques Reeves for personal reasons and rookie fullback Taylor Gentry was absent after participating in the morning walk-thru. Franchised wide receiver Dwayne Bowe remains unsigned and was not in attendance.

“He is not here, and the only thing that I can tell you is that he is not here,” Crennel said of Bowe’s absence. “I’m only working with the guys who are here, so I know nothing about the situation. I have not spoken with him or anything like that, so we’re going to try to get the guys better who are here and try to make those guys better and go forward from that aspect.”

Branden Albert was also excused from the morning walk-thru for personal preseason, but returned to take part in the afternoon practice.

Crennel also said several players failed their pre-camp conditioning test on Thursday, but each passed when given an opportunity to re-run the test Friday morning. As a result, the Chiefs had no players begin training camp riding stationary bikes under the supervision of strength and conditioning staff.

“Most of all it was fun,” Berry said of camp’s first day. “It feels good to get out there and have fun running around with my teammates. Plus I got to cover some routes, so that’s always good.”

Allen pulls double-duty

Add second-round draft pick Jeff Allen into the discussion at swing tackle behind starters Branden Albert and Eric Winston.

The former University of Illinois offensive tackle worked exclusively at left guard during the Chiefs offseason program, but will see snaps at tackle this preseason as well. Allen played both right and left tackle as Illinois’ “weak tackle,” meaning he’d align to the edge containing no tight end help.

“We’re going to put the weight on his shoulders to learn two positions,” Crenne said. “Guard is totally new for him, but he is comfortable at tackle, feels more comfortable there, so we’re going to tell him you’ve got to learn guard and tackle and then we’re going to play him at tackle some. We’re trying to cover our bases as we go into this thing.”

Allen spent the majority of Friday’s practice working as a reserve at left guard behind Ryan Lilja.

“We’re going to rotate guys over there,” Crennel said. “We’ve got David Mims, we have Donald Stephenson, and that’s a guy that we need to take a good look at. He’ll get an opportunity to get some work, to find out what he can do.

Tony Ugoh has played left tackle and started at left tackle in this league. . As soon as he picks up and learns the offense, I think that we could see him there as well.”

Toribio gets first look as No. 1 nose tackle

Anthony Toribio showed Romoe Crennel something this offseason.

Claimed off waivers from Green Bay prior to the 2010 season, Toribio appeared in just five games for the Chiefs as a reserve and spent all of last season on the practice squad. But when the Chiefs first-team defense lined up for its first snap of training camp, Toribio was the one who got the opening nod at nose tackle.

“I know what the veterans can do and I’m going to be biased toward those guys, but if a young guy comes on and shows me something, then he might end up getting some plays,” Crennel explained. “For instance some guy named Dontari Poe, he might end up getting some plays and he might end up being a starter at some point down the line. But he’s not starting right now.”

Regardless of how long his tenure with the first defense might last, Toribio is viewing the work as an opportunity.

“I’m just taking advantage of every opportunity that the coaches give me,” Toribio said. “Whether they put me on the second, third or first-string I’m trying to take advantage of it and do everything I can to make this 53-man roster at the end of camp.”

Friday’s practice was a continuation of the rotation Kansas City used throughout OTAs and minicamp with Poe receiving first-team reps as an interior sub-package pass rusher, but working as a reserve in base defensive sets.

“I think the player determines how quickly they move,” Crennel said. “They’ve got good ability and if they show that they can pick up the system, and can be productive on the field then they can move up the depth chart a lot quicker. When we put the pads on we’ll see.

“Like I’ve said many times, everybody looks good in shorts. So, let’s put the pads on then we’ll find out about these guys.”

Take Five: Quick-Hitters from Friday’s Practice

1) It didn’t take long to see Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis together in the same backfield. The two backs were in the lineup together for one of the first snaps of 7-on-7 drills.

2) Brady Quinn handled second-team reps at quarterback behind Matt Cassel. Quinn and Ricky Stanzi rotated second-team reps throughout the offseason program, so we’ll see if that rotation continues as camp moves forward.

3) The defense was able to create pressure in the contact-free setting. Defensive linemen Amon Gordon, Jerome Long and Jerrell Powe each found their way into the backfield to record sacks.

4) Justin Houston, who’s made it a point to improve in pass coverage this season, ran stride-for-stride with Peyton Hillis to defend a deep wheel route during 7-on-7 drills.

5) Jonathan Baldwin is making a habit of turning in the play of the day. He caught a tough pass in traffic across the middle from Cassel and broke free into the open field for what was without doubt the top offensive highlight of Friday’s practice.

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