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Heartland Health Practice Report: Family Fun Day

Posted Aug 6, 2011

The Chiefs held a full-padded practice for the first time Saturday afternoon

ST. JOSEPH, MO – Football coaches are creatures of habit. They like routine and rarely stray from it. Breaking tradition is difficult, particularly in training camp, but it’s the way Todd Haley has approached the first week and a half of practices.

Saturday’s Family Fun Day at Spratt Stadium was the latest example of Haley adapting to the aftermath of the NFL Lockout.

The Chiefs practiced in full pads for the first time Saturday, a day of camp traditionally reserved for intrasquad scrimmage. But there was no scrimmaging and limited contact. Once again, players shed their shoulder pads prior to competitive 11-v-11 periods.

“Everybody feels pretty comfortable with what we’re doing,” Haley said. “We’re building a foundation for a new season. It’s an important season for us and how we handle all these challenges and opportunities will define how our year goes. Everybody’s excited and anytime you’re in a different situation, you have to adjust.”

Haley has no doubt adjusted his approach to the challenges presented from the lack of structured off-season strength and conditioning program. Previously known for his intense, fully-padded practices camp practices, Haley has yet to have his squad complete a full practice in pads.

Practices have been intense from a conditioning and competition aspect, but the Chiefs have yet to hold a live period over the first eight practices of camp. Contact has come in controlled settings.

“Coach Haley’s been taking care of us, making sure we’re feeling healthy in our pads,” CB Brandon Flowers said. “This team’s attitude is getting in shape and being aggressive. Play every snap like it’s your last, and see where it takes us.”

If the Chiefs aren’t the last team to hold a full-padded workout this preseason, they’re one of the final few. It’s a change from the norm Haley is comfortable with.

“We’re still not there yet as a group,” Haley said. “That’s where I really want to feel before we go full-bore ahead. That’s the plan and (we’re) adjusting on the fly.”

Practice tempo is likely to increase early next week as the Chiefs prepare for a Friday night preseason opener against Tampa Bay. The players have Sunday off before returning to practice Monday- Thursday in St. Joseph.

Richardson Wants To Leave No Doubt

Barry Richardson was a surprise starter in 2010. After working the majority of training camp and the preseason as a second-team tackle, a window opened when Ryan O’Callaghan went down with a groin injury in late August.

Nearly a year later, their roles are reversed. Richardson enters training camp in the drivers’ seat with O’Callaghan pushing him for competition on the right edge.

“I think I did my best to show them that I deserve to be the starting right tackle and I’m going to keep showing them that I deserve this spot,” Richardson said. “I’m going to give them my best throughout camp, the preseason and season. I don’t want (the coaches) to have any question in their mind whether they made the right choice or not.”

Richardson started all 16 games for the Chiefs last season. It was a dramatic rise for a player who was cut following Haley’s first training camp in 2009. The Chiefs claimed O’Callaghan off waivers early that season while Richardson began the season on the practice squad.

“I’m going to keep on going and never get satisfied,” said Richardson. “Last year was just, for me, I’m approaching it in my mind like it was a fluke and I’m going to show that I’m continuing to get better.”

Practice Observations

- Barry Richardson and Tamba Hali returned to practice after leaving Thursday afternoon’s session early. Glenn Dorsey, Jonathan Baldwin and Tony Moeaki did not participate.

- Amon Gordon, signed hours before Saturday’s practice, joined his new team on the field for individual and group work. He sat out of competitive 11-v-11 work.

- Branden Albert had an impressive and victorious one-on-one period defending the pass rush against Tamba Hali and Demorrio Williams.

- Justin Houston drew loud applause following an inside rush move to get past Richardson in one-on-one drills.

- The Chiefs ran an unscripted period with Haley challenging the offensive and defensive staffs to run in different personnel packages in varying down and distances situations.

- After removing shoulder pads, the Chiefs held four competitive periods of 11-v-11 work. The first-team offense got on the board first behind a 30-yard Ryan Succop field goal while defense forced punts from the second and third offensive units.

- Demorrio Williams picked off Tyler Palko in the second group of 11-v-11 work, but Haley decided to let the series continue. It ultimately ended with a punt.

- Ricky Stanzi and Jeremy Horne provided the only TD of 11-v-11 work in the fourth and final competitive period. The pair hooked up in the end zone on back-to-back plays, first on a 30-yard TD pass and second on two-point conversion attempt. Horne’s conversion reception, a leaping grab on a high throw, was easily the catch of the day.

Overheard

“We’re ready to get after it.”

-Brandon Flowers on kicking off the preseason in less than a week

Photo of the Day

Chiefs defensive linemen hit the sled during Family Fun Day

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