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Camp Report: 8/23/11

Posted Aug 23, 2011

Live goal line recap, Lil' Wayne and a Jared Gaither update

With just four practices, two games and several walkthroughs separating the Chiefs from the end of the preseason and training camp’s final cuts, practices at the Truman Sports Complex have possessed far more energy.

Coach Todd Haley has geared up practice tempo and been much more vocal with players and coaches over the past 48 hours. What’s transpired have been some of the most physical and entertaining practices of camp.

“(It’s) the first time really picking up the tempo where I’m blowing the horn, giving them little breaks, really trying to get them in game condition [with] a lot of the core guys that we probably feel like will have a good chance of playing for us early in the year,” Haley said. “They’re running the same number of plays but in a much shorter time as far as they’re concerned, a lot less standing around, baking in the sun.”

Each NFL club must cut its roster to a maximum of 80 players by August 30th. On September 3rd, teams must reduce roster sizes to 53 players. The Chiefs currently have 89 players under contract.

“Guys come out every day to make this roster and it’s going to be a special roster,” DE Wallace Gilberry said. “Guys are fighting and clawing to earn that spot in whatever their situation may be.”

Tuesday’s practiced featured the return of live goal line work with the defense winning the period once again. The first-team offense was shutout on three snaps inside the five-yard line against the first-team defensive unit.

On first down, coverage and pressure forced QB Matt Cassel to throw the ball away. Second down saw rookie OLB Justin Houston knock down a pass at the line of scrimmage as Cassel rolled to his right. On third down, S Jon Mcgraw wiped out a lead block on the right edge that allowed LB Derrick Johnson to chase down RB Thomas Jones.

In a new set of downs, Jones was blanked by Dion Gales at the line of scrimmage as the second-team defense battled many of the offensive first-teamers. It wasn’t until the fifth snap of the goal line period that RB Jackie Battle was able to go up and over defenders for a one-yard score.

Throughout camp, the defense has appeared to hold the upper hand against the offense, but Haley points to a lack of scheming for much of that perception.

“I think I said that when you don’t scheme offensively and you don’t scheme defensively, it hurts the offense a little more, generally,” Haley said. “I think that’s just the way that it is, so I want to be fair to those guys.

“We’re working fundamentals and we’re working base offense, bread and butter stuff – runs, pass, and play-action. But, the offense is making progress. I saw some really good things yesterday from the offense. I saw some really good things today. We’re making progress.”

Don’t forget, Wednesday’s BACK TO FOOTBALL BASH is your last opportunity to see the Chiefs practice in 2011.

No Love (Featuring Lil’ Wayne and Todd Haley)

Before every home game last season, the Chiefs would gather as a team in the end zone as Eminem’s No Love featuring Lil’ Wayne blasted throughout speakers at Arrowhead. Though Haley stopped short of calling the song an anthem for the Chiefs worst-to-first turnaround, it was something that served as motivation throughout the season; particularly on game day.

“Lil’ Wayne – our song last year – we made a video at the start of the season and it was one of his songs,” Haley said. “The players took to it. We played it every home game. It was kind of our… When you saw us gather up in the end zone, it was always a song of his.

“So, I said if he comes into town and I get an opportunity to give him a copy of (the video) and thank him, I (would).”

Haley was able to do so last night, attending Lil’ Wayne’s concert at Sprint Center. Several Chiefs players were also in attendance.

Describing his musical taste as “versatile,” Haley says most players didn’t know he was a Lil’ Wayne fan until last season.

“They didn’t know it a whole bunch until... I guess now they know,” Haley said. “I like him. He’s good. He’s good. He thinks outside the box for sure.”

After the rapper gave the coach a shout out on Twitter last night, safety Kendrick Lewis said Haley earned some “cool points” in the Chiefs locker room. Wallace Gilberry wasn’t as certain.

“No, not at all,” Gilberry said laughing.

Come out early to Arrowhead and you’re likely to hear a portion of the song.

Gaither “On a Schedule”

Jared Gaither was a practice participant once again Tuesday morning, but only in a limited capacity. After fully participating in his first two days of practice with the Chiefs earlier this month, Gaither had missed a week’s worth of time before returning to the practice field yesterday.

He’s been dressed in full pads for both practice sessions this week, but has not participated in many team periods. When active, he’s worked with the second-team offense at left tackle.

The unrestricted free agent signee missed all of 2010 with a back injury.

“I’ve been pretty clear that where he was coming from we knew that it was going to take a little time in a number of different areas, mentally and physically,” Haley said. “But, for right now, the work is being done, for the most part, on the physical side of just trying to get him physically ready to go where he can hold up to the rigors of a season.”

When asked if Gaither was a candidate to join the Physically-Unable-To-Perform (PUP) list at the end of the preseason, Haley only said that the tackle is on a schedule and doing what he’s asked to do.

Players may not be placed on PUP after they have participated in training camp practices.

Other Notes

- Held out of practice Tuesday morning were WR Jonathan Baldwin, OLB Eric Bahktiari, CB Brandon Flowers, OL Darryl Harris, OLB Gabe Miller, T Ryan O’Callaghan, TE Jake O’Connell and NT Anthony Toribio. Flowers left Monday’s practice early. All other players listed missed yesterday’s session in its entirety.

- WR Steve Breaston left practice field mid-way through the workout and joined the injured players in the stationary bike area.

- Haley had an intense eye on the receivers during red zone one-on-one drills with the defensive backs. The theme of Haley’s message can be summarized in one word – “Compete.”

- Held out of contact drills for much of camp, the first-team offensive and defensive units have gotten plenty of work this week.

- Jerheme Urban continues to get behind safeties and cornerbacks. He did so again Tuesday morning on a deep route that was overthrown. Urban parlayed his St. Joseph performances by catching deep TD passes Sunday and Monday.

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