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Heartland Health Practice Report: Camp Breaks From St. Joe

Posted Aug 17, 2011

Training camp goes out with a bang as Haley holds live take-down period to conclude St. Joe workouts

ST. JOSEPH, MO – The Chiefs broke training camp Wednesday afternoon with a sense of accomplishment. Granted, a very different sense of accomplishment compared to previous training camps.

“It’s radically different, in my opinion, for a lot of us coaches that have been doing this for a while,” Head Coach Todd Haley said. “Change is difficult. It’s not always easy, but I do feel like we’ve been fairly efficient in adjusting to the different variables and I really feel like we’re on schedule and on our plan.”

Haley’s plan has been radically different in itself throughout training camp, adjusting to the deck of cards dealt by the NFL lockout. With an entire off-season program erased, the Chiefs spent much of their time in St. Joseph focused on conditioning and the mental side of preparing for a 17-week regular season.

Traditional two-a-days were eliminated by way of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but Haley decided to ease his squad into full-padded workouts. Kansas City hadn’t worn full pads for an entire practice until earlier this week.

“I believe that if your team is conditioned and trained the way it needs to be over an extended period of time, you can minimize a lot of injuries,” Haley said. “There are going to be hurts and aches and pains, but you can minimize some of the things that will really set your team back.”

Haley has long been up-front about the need to add depth across the roster. Thin at numerous positions, the Chiefs suffered relatively few injuries in 2010. Nearly 30 players were able to appear in all 30 games.

“To me, injuries when you’re playing football, is when guys are competing on different levels of fitness,” Haley said.

As a whole, the Chiefs reported to camp in optimal football condition last season and Haley responded by holding a strenuous, hard-hitting three weeks of camp. But the team was also coming off a spring and summer that saw near 100% attendance in strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark’s off-season training program.

No matter the dedication each player took to training over the lockout, the gains from working with more than 60 teammates on a daily basis are nearly impossible to replace.

“We’ve done a great job of working out on the field and then in the weight room with Coach Clark,” WR Jerheme Urban said. “I like this structure, but don’t kid yourself – we’re still getting our work in. Everyone’s bodies feel like they are here in that third week of training camp and it takes its toll. I think that Coach (Haley) and Coach Clark have done a great job on structuring this camp and looking at the big picture to get us ready for September 11th.”

Perhaps a sign his squad getting closer to football condition, Haley held a live takedown period to conclude camp in St. Joseph.

The Chiefs will travel to Baltimore on Thursday before kicking off against the Ravens Friday night. Camp resumes in Kansas City Sunday afternoon and will continue through the month of August.

“We’re on schedule, but we’re nowhere close (to being completely ready),” Haley said. “We have a lot of work to do. But we’ve made progress and there is no doubt in my mind that we made progress in the areas that were most important to us here in these first two-to-three weeks.

“Some of those things may have been a little bit less football-specific oriented, but from the training and conditioning standpoint, that was number one and will remain number one for a little while longer.”

No Bowe Show

Dwayne Bowe has had a quiet, but productive training camp. Focused on replicating the success of last year’s breakout season, the Pro Bowler has opted to keep quiet in the media. That decision in itself is a stark contrast to the player Haley first encountered in 2009.

“He’s light years from where he was and that’s a testament to him and to his position coaches,” Haley said. “With Dwayne, I do believe now that he can be something special in this league.”

A far cry from the camera-loving showman who reported to training camp overweight as a rookie and again in Haley’s first season as head coach, Bowe looks to have taken care of himself over the past five month layoff created by the lockout.

He’s appeared to be in excellent condition throughout camp and is catching most everything thrown his way. The frustrating drops that plagued Bowe in past training camps weren’t a factor this year in St. Joseph.

“Pre-lockout we talked about how important this next year would be in being able to handle some level of success,” said Haley. “He’s doing a tremendous job. He’s showing these guys how you’re supposed to do it and that’s going to make everyone better.”

Bowe is the Chiefs clear-cut number one receiver as camp breaks from MWSU.

Practice Observations

- The Chiefs were short on tackles for the team’s live takedown period when Barry Richardson left the field following the series’ first snap. With Jared Gaither and Ryan O’Callaghan both already out of practice, rookie free agent Butch Lewis assumed Richardson’s position at right tackle for the remainder of first-team snaps. Richardson left the field on his own power.

- Also missing practice today were WR Jonathan Baldwin, OL Darryl Harris, LB Eric Bahktiari and NT Anthony Toribio. In total, six Chiefs missed Wednesday’s practice. It was the highest count of non-participants this training camp.

- Kendrick Lewis continued his pick parade with a pick-six off Matt Cassel in the left flats. Lewis has been a magnet for the football throughout the week in St. Joe.

- Todd Carter showed off his big leg by bouncing a kickoff off the left upright during special teams work. However, Ryan Succop has been far more accurate on field goal attempts.

- Cassel and Jerheme Urban turned in the biggest play of the day on a 50-yard connection. Urban was able to get behind both Eric Berry and Brandon Carr on the deep post and Cassel hit him in stride.

- Tyler Palko also hooked up with Steve Breaston for a large gain on a go-route past rookie Demond Washington.

- Justin Houston got into the backfield off the edge to sack Palko during the live period that concluded practice.

Overheard

 “I’m lucky to have him here and he’s one of my closest friends.”

- Matt Cassel on former USC roommate Keary Colbert

Photo of the Day

 

The seven-man sled was loaded on a flat-bed semi truck minutes after Wednesday’s final practice

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