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Heartland Health Practice Report: 8/1/11

Posted Aug 1, 2011

Siler gives Chiefs options at ILB, Sheffield's road back a positive one and Colquitt goes rugby

ST. JOSEPH, MO – More versatility is coming to the Chiefs inside linebacker position. Monday’s addition of former Chargers LB Brandon Siller gives the Chiefs an option they’ve lacked over the past two seasons – an inside linebacker that can play both the “Mike” and “Will” positions.

The Chiefs two-deep in 2010 featured Jovan Belcher/Corey Mays at “Mike” and Derrick Johnson/Demorrio Williams at “Will,” but the four players never strayed from their respective positions.

“We’ve seen him for a couple of years and he’s a guy what was an active part of San Diego,” Coach Todd Haley said. “He had some chances to line up with their first team and was definitely a special teams contributor there. Seeing him up close and watching tape on him, I know that everybody is excited about bringing him in here.”

With Mays departed as an unrestricted free agent, Siler is likely to provide immediate competition for Belcher. He’s also a special teams contributor, owns 56 special teams tackles over his four NFL seasons. As a veteran signee, he won’t be permitted to practice until August 4th.

“This is a guy who understands the division and what goes on,” Haley said. “He’s a big, good-looking guy so we’re excited to have him assimilate with the team and see how things go.”

A Little More Contact

Slowly, but surely the Chiefs are adding contract to practices. The team’s progression into full pads continued Monday with Haley extending the shells (shoulder pads and helmets) portion of practice through individual drills and into several group periods.

Sheffield Takes Next Step

Cameron Sheffield continues to impress with his ability to bounce back from a frightening neck injury that cost him his entire rookie season. Thus far, Sheffield has participated in every aspect of practice, including Monday’s contact period that focused on pass rush technique.

“Sheffield was a guy that was coming on when he went down,” Haley said. “He looks like he’s progressed. It’s been a long off-season for him. That’s a lot of tough mental issues to go through when you’re not with your teammates. You’re there, but you’re not there.”

Sheffield was a standout in the Chiefs intrasquad night scrimmage during last year’s camp and had begun to receive some first-team looks in sub-packages before suffering injury. After a helmet-to-helmet hit with Philadelphia RB Mike Bell, Sheffield laid motionless for an extended period of time before being immobilized and carted off the field. The Chiefs played the Eagles in the third game of the preseason.

“It’s always tough for those guys and sometimes it breaks them, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Haley said. “With him, you can clearly see that he’s ready to go. I would expect it to take a little time for him to get the rust off, but he would have a chance to potentially help us.”

Following Monday’s afternoon session, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel singled out Sheffield as a player who might be able to help the Chiefs pass rush.

“I think Sheffield really might have some possibilities,” Crennel said.

We’ll follow Sheffield’s progress as training camp tempo continues to dial up.

Crennel On Kelly Gregg

Former Baltimore Ravens NT Kelly Gregg is in camp, but has yet to practice with the Chiefs due to CBA restrictions. While fans wait to get their first look at Gregg, Romeo Crennel is familiar with the veteran’s play when the two squared off as AFC North foes.

“He’s a good player he has to be reckoned with and I think he will be good for some of these young guys on our team,” Crennel said. “The thing that I found about veteran defensive lineman is they know all the tricks of the trade. They know where to put their hands, they know how to fight the pressure, so if he can give some of that experience to some of these young guys, and I’ve had veterans before who have been able to do that and they can help young guys develop and so that’s what we expect from Kelly.”

Gregg turns 35 in November, but Crennel believes he’ll still able to play at a high level.

“Physically, when we’re seeing him out here in shorts, he looks like he has more time left and I think when you see him and you talk to him he’s got a great attitude. I think he’s excited about being here, he wants to play for us, and he’ll help us.”

Role Call

- Third-round pick Justin Houston missed his fourth consecutive practice and remains the Chiefs lone unsigned draft pick

- Tony Moeaki and Tervaris Jackson remain on the Physically-Unable-To-Perform list and continue to workout with the strength and conditioning staff on the sidelines. Both players worked on football movements Monday afternoon.

- Tamba Hali remains out of camp. He has yet to sign his franchise tender.

- Brandon Carr is the final restricted free agent without a contract. He was tendered at a first-round level. The Chiefs also have right of first refusal negotiating rights with free agent Kevin Curtis.

11-v-11 Observations

- First a special teams nugget: Dustin Colquitt worked almost exclusively on rugby-style punts and the results were impressive. All of his punts appeared uncatchable from a hang-time perspective and landed inside the 20-yard line. He practiced the rugby punt last preseason as well, but didn’t use the technique as much during the regular season.

- And another special teams nugget: Donald Washington made a nice play as a gunner, batting one of Colquitt’s punt backwards to Ricky Price just as the football was closing on the goal line. Price downed the punt on the two-yard line after Washington didn’t bite on Javier Arenas’ fair catch deke at the 10-yard line.

- Speaking of Areans, he might have the toughest day-to-day matchup of any defensive back. The 5-9 cornerback has consistently been matched up on a much larger Jonathan Baldwin throughout camp’s early stages. Quarterbacks are already working on Baldwin’s mismatch ability by aiming their throws high. Arenas is serving as a first-team corner in Brandon Carr’s absence.

- Jake O’Connell turned in the catch of the day when he made a diving grab with a mid-air body adjustment.

- I sat next to former Chiefs long snapper Kendall Gammon throughout practice today. He was impressed with rookie free agent Mike Ingersoll’s ability to control the bull rush during the o-line/d-line one-on-one period. Ingersoll has been playing both guard positions.

- Cody Slate tipped a pass forward to Chandler Williams that resulted in a long touchdown connection. The play reminded me of Brandon Stokley’s game-winning TD catch against Cincinnati in 2009 (minus the Gus Johnson commentary).

- Ricky Stanzi was picked off for the first time this training camp. Kendrick Lewis got credit for the pick, though there were other defenders looking to get their hands on the crowded pass as well.

- The offense had a lot of success with crossing routes during the play-action period. Dwayne Bowe had several of the catches with Jerheme Urban and Verran Tucker making notable grabs as well.

Overheard

“No…Tamba’s not here (laughing)!  As soon as Tamba gets here my pass rush is going to improve.”

- Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel’s response when asked if he was confident in the Chiefs pass rush. Crennel also went on to say that he wasn’t worried about Hali’s absence from camp thus far.

Off-Day Tomorrow

Tuesday will be a day of rest and evaluation in St. Joe. The players have the day off, but coaches will continue to meet for film review and installation schedules throughout the day.

The Chiefs are scheduled to hit the field twice on Wednesday with a 9:45 AM walkthrough followed by camp’s first night practice inside Spratt Stadium at 7:15 PM.

Note: Chiefs Training Camp LIVE! resumes Wednesday evening at 5:00 PM

Note II: Walkthrough practices have offered a prime opportunity for post-practice autographs with the smaller crowds.

Photo Of The Day


A fan favorite at camp (especially for the kids): Preparing to catch Ryan Succop’s field goal attempts on the end zone hill.

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