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Heartland Health Practice Report - Practice #4

Posted Aug 1, 2010

How did the Chiefs respond following the first slate of two-a-days?

After completing the first slate of two-a-days on Saturday, strength training was kept off of the morning schedule in order to give the team more time to prepare for Sunday’s mid-afternoon practice. Saturday’s two-practice day was the first major test of camp, but Sunday wasn’t any pushover either. Sunday’s full-padded practice lasted nearly three hours and was filled with plenty of intensity.

Practice Inactives

G Brian Waters

OLB Pierre Walters

Waters has yet to make on the field for the Chiefs this training camp due to injury. Walters had been a full participant in the first three sessions of camp, but worked out on a bike Sunday afternoon.

DT/DE Dion Gales, who had previously missed each practice session, made his 2010 Training Camp debut. He worked with the reserve defensive line in his return.

More on the Nickel

Saturday’s rookie triangle of Eric Berry, Javier Arenas and Kendrick Lewis running together with the first-team nickel personnel generated some buzz at camp. On Sunday, Arenas gave his thoughts on three rookies having to communicate on the defense’s back line.

“Its fun and It’s a unique opportunity, I think,” Arenas said of the three rookies repping together. “(Eric and Kendrick) know a lot about what they are doing and I’m pretty sure that it’s easier for them when I can communicate as well.”

The nickel sets were the first of camp and there was plenty of rotation throughout the day, but three rookies working in the defensive backfield at the same time was definitely noteworthy. Haley initially held off working on sub-packages to focus solely on base groupings during the first few of practices this training camp.

“Chiefs Will”

If you make the trip to training camp, two words are commonplace on campus: “Chiefs Will.”

Those two words are printed, in Chiefs Font, on the back of t-shirts worn by the coaches and players (pictured, upper right). At each practice session, more than one coach is typically wearing a shirt with the mantra printed across the back, and many of the players walk around campus with the shirts on as well.

So, what’s the back-story on these two words becoming a part of this year’s camp?

“I like to have something in camp to keep your focus on and I will keep it between myself and the team, really in-depth,” Haley explained. “Will is an interesting word in football and it obviously has a double meaning, but I will leave it at that. I like the way it sounds for some reason.”

Touching the Fence

We witnessed our first punishment run on Sunday afternoon in St. Joseph. After allowing a coverage sack to open up team Red Zone period, Haley sent the entire offense running to the far fence and back. Haley wanted to get the point across that quarterbacks needed to throw the ball away in that situation, rather than take a sack.

As the offense took off, some fans applauded, rallying behind Haley’s demand for perfection. Running to the fence after mental mistakes was commonplace during Haley’s first training camp as a head coach in 2009, but this was the first time that the run has happened in St. Joseph.

Glenn Dorsey was the defender who ultimately recorded the sack.

Competitive Inside Run Period

During each practice session, 9-on-7 (inside run) drills are becoming a must-watch. Today, there were several highlights...

  • TE Leonard Pope has shown some nice leverage in blocking angles on the outside edge. In back-to-back practices he’s been able to hook his opponent and enable a runner to spring a nice run.
  • OLB Mike Vrabel made a very nice physical play off the edge, defeating a block to notch a tackle for loss.
  • Charlie Weis didn’t like something he saw and got after the offense midway through the drill. On the very next snap, RB Thomas Jones churned out a beautiful read and sprinted into the end zone to draw some big applause from Chiefs fans. Jones originally tried to run through the A-Gap, but re-adjusted and cut toward the B/C-Gap for daylight.
  • Rookie OLB Justin Cole appeared to have someone step on his foot or ankle. The undrafted player out of San Jose State hobbled around for a few minutes and took a brief break, but eventually returned to action.

Washington Getting Looks at Gunner

There are a number of players competing for opportunities to play gunner on the punt unit this preseason, but one in particular seems to be getting a lot of attention. Second-year DB Donald Washington has been getting a lot of coaching from special teams coach Steve Hoffman on the technique and the head coach has been heard chipping in with coaching advice as well.

In a crowded defensive backfield, many of the Chiefs reserve defensive backs will be counted on to play special teams. Over the last two days, WR Quinten Lawrence and DB Maurice Leggett have taken the first reps at gunner. Leggett was playing the position and covering a punt when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury vs. Pittsburgh last season.

Play of the Day

During team blitz period the first-team offense looked in mid-season form, for one play at least. After a perfect blitz pick-up, QB Matt Cassel hit WR Chris Chambers in stride on a 36-yard fly route down the left sideline. Chambers was driven out of bounds at the four-yard line, giving the Chiefs their most legitimate big-play of camp.

The play appeared flawless, perfectly executed in all three phases of the play – the blitz pickup, the pass and the catch. Chambers had a defender on his hip when he made the grab.

Just a few plays prior, Cassel had connected with Chambers on a nearly identical play. Both plays received loud ovations from the crowd, but most of the crowd missed a small detail of the first attempt. On the first time around, OLB Mike Vrabel twisted to the inside (near the A-Gap) on a stunt for would have definitely been a sack. The defense made sure to plea its case after Chambers’ grab.

Chambers also logged several other nice catches on the day, including an impressive Red Zone TD to cap off a big practice.

Pop of the Day

On the closing play of team Red Zone, Javier Arenas laid a big hit on fellow rookie Cody Slate. The hit came a bit tardy, but still drew a big reaction from the fans along the end zone fence. It was also one of the few hits this training camp that everyone who surrounded the two practice fields could hear.

Following the play, however, there wasn’t much celebrating for Arenas.

“They said that it would have been a late hit, so I have to make a better decision,” Arenas said. “But, you know, I’m just trying to compete and contribute out there.”

Two practices are on schedule for Monday – 8:50 AM and 4:30 PM

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