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Heartland Health Report: 8/16/11

Posted Aug 16, 2011

Intensity levels heighten as the half-way point of the preseason draws near

ST. JOSEPH, MO – Perhaps it was the excitement of an upcoming game; a chance to bounce back from Friday’s 25-0 loss paired with an opportunity to square off against the team that ended Kansas City’s 2010 season. Maybe it was just the result of three-straight padded practices with bodies beginning to feel the aches and pains of mid-August.

Whatever the reason, Tuesday’s practice was fiery as we’ve seen this training camp.

We saw two separate scrums break out in a day dominated by the defense. Although mild in nature, the shoving matches were the first of camp.

“This is camp and we’re in camp mode; attitudes flare,” LB Derrick Johnson said. “Everybody is trying to win and trying to succeed on the field. It’s nothing personal when things escalate a little; everything stays on the field. You have it every year and we’re a tough team.”

Big defensive plays built on one another throughout the afternoon to fuel the group with intensity. Interceptions, sacks, hits and diving pass breakups were all part of the performance.

Head Coach Todd Haley paused practice several times to remind the defense about player safety.

“That’s what you want, as long as no one gets hurt or anything escalates after the play, it’s totally fine to bring some toughness,” Johnson said. “This is football. We’re grown men out there and have people knocking people down every which way, both big and little. It’s a good feeling.”

“We’ve been able to be a little more intense the last couple of days,” defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel added. “That helps in the development of the young guys that we need to develop and we’re excited about that.”

Movie Day 2011

The Chiefs spent the morning at the movie theatre in St. Joseph. It was the second-straight year Haley surprised his squad with a team-building activity in place of a morning workout. Players had the choice of four movies – The Change Up, Planet of the Apes, Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens.

“I went to Captain America,” NT Kelly Gregg said. “It was pretty good, but once you’ve seen one super hero movie, you’ve seen them all.”

Haley saw The Change Up while Glenn Dorsey’s movie of choice was Planet of the Apes.

“Great movie; two-thumps up,” Dorsey said.

Haley has made it a point throughout camp to spend time with team-building activities. As a response to rookies missing an entire off-season program, Haley instituted the buddy system early in camp. Each rookie is paired with a veteran mentor from another position. In most cases, mentor takes on mentee throughout much of practice.

For instance, rookie OL Rodney Hudson is paired with veteran NT Kelly Gregg and after the two knock helmets for more than two hours each day, the “buddies” head to nearby lockers. They’ll sit near each other on the plane later this week and, in most cases, room with one another on the road.

“Some of that buddy up stuff that I’ve done is important because they haven’t lifted together and got to know each other maybe quite the same way; specifically, the new guys on the team, young and old,” Haley said. “They haven’t got to know each other and maybe develop some of those relationships to the point where they’d be. We’re trying to facilitate that as much as we can as coaches.”

The Count Is 89

Former Emporia State DL Harold Ayodele brought Kansas City’s training camp roster count up to 89 players after signing a contract Tuesday morning. Teams can carry a maximum of 90 players until August 30th.

By afternoon, Ayodele was on the field working at nose tackle and wearing #79. The Chiefs are currently short at the position with injury forcing Anthony Toribio to leave practice Sunday afternoon. Toribio hasn’t practiced since.

“I think that we’ve had continuous workouts here through camp - really, I think almost every position, probably every position,” Haley said.  “When there are guys through here that we like, and with available roster spots, it gives us an opportunity to bring guys in and get them into the mix and see if they can add to the competition.”

Ayodele worked with Amon Gordon in the tackle rotation behind Kelly Gregg and Jerrell Powe.

Practice Observations

- Andy Studebaker turned in the closest thing to a quarterback sack that most will ever see at an NFL training camp. Coming off the edge on an unevaded path toward QB Tyler Palko, Studebaker was unable to break off his route and laid a thud on the untouchable position. The defense cheered. Coach Haley did not.

- Dexter McCluster met Reshard Langford at the goal line…again. It was the second-straight day Langford squared up on McCluster following an inside handoff in the scoring zone.

- Justin Houston repped with the first-team defense opposite Tamba Hali during 7-on-7. When 11-v-11 work resumed, Studebaker returned to that role.

- Brandon Carr made a leaping pass breakup in the end zone on a red zone fade to Dwayne Bowe.

- Kendrick Lewis broke from his deep alignment to pick off Tyler Palko early in 11-v-11 work. Lewis had a nice day, nearly picking off a second pass with a diving effort later in practice.

- Wallace Gilberry continued his solid camp with a sack of Palko during team period. He had to chase the scrambling lefty in order to get credit for the sack. The defense was harassing Chiefs quarterbacks throughout practice.

- Speaking of solid camps, Cory Greenwood continues to be all over the field. He’s consistently working with the second-team defense at inside linebacker and made several plays in coverage Tuesday.

- Tyson Jackson broke through the line on the first play of screen period, recognized the play developing and batted down Matt Cassel’s attempt in the backfield.

- Ricky Stanzi hooked up with Jeremy Horne for a red zone TD in one of the few offensive highlights of competitive 11-v-11 work.

- Jared Gaither worked out in the conditioning zone instead of participating in practice. Anthony Toribio, Darryl Harris and Eric Bakhtiari also missed practice.

Overheard

“You don’t get faster in this league; you get smarter and smarter makes you play faster.”

- Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson

Photo of the Day

 

Harold Ayodele gets a first-day tutorial from defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant

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