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Heartland Health Practice Report: 7/31/11

Posted Jul 31, 2011

Jackson aims to step up, Zorn explains odd drill and Baldwin rebounds with big play

ST. JOSEPH, MO – Sunday brought the first round of double-days for the 2011 Chiefs. These definitely aren’t the two-a-day sessions NFL fans have grown accustomed to seeing, but Sunday brought two outdoor sessions nevertheless.

The Chiefs opened Sunday with an hour-long morning walk-through, following by an afternoon practice very similar to Friday and Saturday’s non-padded workouts.  A mandatory two-day adjustment period of non-padded practices was lifted on Sunday, but Coach Todd Haley chose to keep the pads off the field.

“After seeing the way everything went yesterday and where we are today, I think it would just be counterproductive, potentially,” Haley said.

The offensive and defensive lineman did wear shoulder pads for a 10-minute period against one another, but later shed the shells.

“The only reason I (did) that is because in the latter half of practice in these walkthroughs, the linemen are doing far less than some of the guys pursuing, and we felt like we could work a little technique.”

There is currently no timetable for when the Chiefs will begin full-padded workouts. Haley indicated it will be a daily evaluation, but doesn’t yet feel the team is ready for higher levels of intensity.

“You’ve seen some guys struggling out there and those that have been around for a couple of years, the workload hasn’t been real close, at least in my opinion,” Haley said. “It was expected coming into it. My goal through this first week or two weeks was to get the team at least close to the same fitness-conditioning level. Otherwise, I think we could have problems.”

Jackson Focused On Next Step

One of camp’s first meetings opened with a highlight film recapping Kansas City’s worst-to-first turnaround last season. For the rookies, it was an introduction to Chiefs football. For the veterans, it was a reminder of what they had accomplished.

Following the highlight, Haley profiled players who were part of the Chiefs 2010 season but are no longer with the organization. Players like Mike Vrabel, Brian Waters, Ron Edwards – all 16-game starters – are gone and Haley offered a reminder that 2011 is a different year.

The Chiefs need new leaders and contributors to emerge at several positions. Former first-round pick Tyson Jackson feels he’s one of those players.

“I will have to step up a whole lot this year with a lot of veteran leaders that left our team especially on the defense,” Jackson said. “I think I can step up big this year. I’m focused on doing it and helping our team on defense to give us a chance to win.”

Jackson missed the first two months of 2010 after suffering a knee injury in the Chiefs season opening win over San Diego.

“I can’t look back at regretting that I got injured but I can just learn from it, look back at it, understand what happened, how did I play the first game, and what kept me going through our first game doing pretty well,” said Jackson. “It’s a big year for me. I want to go out there, establish myself, get in there and become a dominant defensive lineman.”

Jackson has been working with the first-team defense opposite Glenn Dorsey throughout training camp.

Veteran Spotting

Casey Wiegmann is one of 15 veteran players unable to practice until August 4th. Up until Sunday afternoon, none of the veteran signees had been spotted at practice. They have, however, reported to training camp.

Today, Wiegmann bucked the trend and watched offensive line drills in street clothes.

Most of the veterans haven’t been spotted because they’ve opted to use the practice window to work out on their own time.

“There are some restrictions on working out and who can be present,” Haley explained. “Really the only time there are none of the coaches or equipment guys around this building is during practice. What I believe it to be, is they chose that time to go ahead and get some work in.”

Not In Camp

Justin Houston remains the lone draft pick without a contract and was absent for the third-straight day of training camp. Tamba Hali has not signed his franchise tender and is yet to report. Restricted free agents Brandon Carr, Wallace Gilberry and Barry Richardson also remain unsigned.

Tony Moeaki and Tervaris Johnson are on the Physically-Unable-To-Perform list.

Zorn Explains Odd Drill

Chiefs quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn spoke with the media following practice Sunday afternoon and explained an odd drill that has drawn plenty of attention throughout camp. As we highlighted earlier this weekend, Zorn has had Cassel practicing left-handed pass drops.

“Sometimes we do face to our left when we’re going to the left or when we need to change directions but in that particular drill that you saw me do,” Zorn explained. “I wanted to make sure he could move his hips back and forth with his feet and snap them suddenly because when you’re in a game, if you take too long to make a move of changing directions you’ll get sacked [or] you’ll get hit, and so those are the things we’re working on in that particular drill.”

The Chiefs do have one left-handed quarterback on the roster in Tyler Palko. Zorn was a left-hander when he played 11 NFL seasons with the Seahawks (1796-84), Packers (1985) and Buccaneers (1987).

11-v-11 Highlights

The offense and defense went against each other in varied down and distance situations to close Sunday’s practice. The tempo was very controlled with no contact involved, but there were still several notable performances.

- Matt Cassel hooked up with Jonathan Baldwin for a 50-yard gain on a play-fake to open the team period. Baldwin drew a standing ovation for fans as he went up and used his body to box out Javier Arenas for the catch.

- Gabe Miller recorded his first sack of training camp after utilizing an impressive swim move to get past Bobby Greenwood on the offensive right edge.

- Dexter McCluster went vertical for a fully-extended first down catch in front of rookie Demond WashingtonThus far, McCluster has spent the majority of his time working with the running backs.

Gilberry In The Fold

Wallace Gilberry signed his restricted free agent tender Sunday evening, narrowing the Chiefs list of unsigned RFAs to two players - Brandon Carr and Barry Richardson. The Chiefs had placed a second-round tender on Gilberry.

Shortly after signing, Gilberry posted "Thursday can't come fast enough..." on his Twitter page (@Gilberrry92). Thursday, August 4th is the first day Gilberry is permited to practice with the team.

Other Observations

- Thus far, McCluster has spent the majority of his time working with the running backs.

- The Chiefs continue to run conditioning drills in an old-fashioned manner following practice. Today, players were in three-point stances waiting on a whistle to signal the start of a five-yard sprint. False starts added more sprints.

- The Chiefs worked on punt protection and the hurry-up offense during situational work.

- In a brief window wearing shoulder pads, defensive lineman practiced a lot of two-gap technique against the offensive linemen. Essentially, this is a 3-vs-1 drill for the d-line. Anthony Toribio and Jerrell Powe got plenty of work shedding double team blocks.

- Jonathan Baldwin bounced back from several drops on Saturday with a number of nice catches. He practiced in full after leaving Saturday's workout early.

Overheard

“Jonas Brothers…Gabe Miller…Kenny Powers.”

-          Todd Haley attempting to draw false starts during a conditioning period at the end of practice

Photo Of The Day


Matt Cassel takes time to chat with a young fan while signing autographs Sunday morning

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