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Insider Blog: A Year Makes A Difference

Posted May 17, 2010

Recapping the first day of Kansas City's OTAs

What a difference a year makes.

A year ago, the storylines circling around the Chiefs OTAs were an out of shape football team and veteran players who decided not to show. A year later, the buzz around Arrowhead is about team that has committed themselves to an off-season strength/conditioning program and a first day of OTAs that saw nearly every single player in attendance.

Only one of the 85 players that currently make up the Chiefs roster was not in attendance for Monday morning’s first session of on-field spring practices. That player was S Jarrad Page, who represents the lone restricted free agent yet to sign his tender offer from the club.

Past Page, however, the Chiefs had a packed house; one that consisted of both G Brian Waters and OLB Mike Vrabel – two well-established veteran players who many have assumed would be on the absentee list of voluntary workouts.

“The commitment has been here,” head coach Todd Haley said. “With both those guys, I think I’ve said in here a couple times, obviously [we’re] in a very good place with both of them. We’re on the same page with where we were and again, this whole off-season has been a really good sign of commitment by everybody involved.

“This isn’t just about today,” Haley continued. “It’s really the last few months where these guys are really working and working together and now we’ve got a chance to take another step towards the goals we’re trying to reach. I think it was a good day overall and the guys worked hard again.”

As a whole, the day went as expected. The defense seemed to be a bit ahead of the offense as timing is always an issue during spring and early training camp practices. There were also several drops, with one ending up in LB Corey Mays’ hands. Those are never things that you like to see, but are par for the course at this time of year across the league.

Really, practices at this time of year can only tell us so much. Conclusions are particularly difficult to draw with no live contact drills taking place and the play-books still in the beginning stages of installation. In addition, we don’t know the specific techniques that each player is asked to do on a snap-by-snap basis, making the analysis of a shorts and helmets practice a particularly difficult task.

With that said, there are still a few interesting items to follow in the spring. Here are some of the interesting notes from today’s first day of OTAs.

Players Held Out of Practice (Rehab/Conditioning Zone)

WR Quinten Lawrence

WR Lance Long

CB Brandon Flowers

RB Jamaal Charles

*TE Tony Moeaki

TE Brad Cottam

*Moeaki was the only player who didn’t re-join his position group for “mental reps” during team period

None of the players sitting out today’s practice appeared to have serious ailments.

Specific to Moeaki, Haley said: “He just has something that should not be a big deal. He should be out there soon.”

How They Lined Up

Outside of both Brian Waters and Mike Vrabel attending Monday’s workouts, this is the next most sought after information that I’ve been asked. Keep in mind that Todd Haley liked to plug guys in and out of first-team snaps and sub-packages throughout OTAs and training camp a year ago. But for what it’s worth, here is how the Chiefs started on both sides of the football for team period.

OFFENSE

WR Dwayne Bowe

WR Chris Chambers

LT Branden Albert

LG Brian Waters

C Rudy Niswanger

RG Ryan Lilja

RT Ryan O’Callaghan

TE Leonard Pope

FB Tim Castille

RB Thomas Jones

QB Matt Cassel

DEFENSE

DE Tyson Jackson

NT Ron Edwards

DE Glenn Dorsey

OLB Mike Vrabel

LB Corey Mays

LB Demorrio Williams

OLB Tamba Hali

CB Maurice Leggett

CB Brandon Carr

S Jon McGraw

S Reshard Langford

Other Practice Notes

· Maurice Leggett filled in for Brandon Flowers at cornerback today. He’s an interesting player to watch this spring as he began the 2009 season as a starter in Flowers’ absence at corner, then shifted to nickel back and finally to a situational safety. Today, he was back at that corner position.

· At the defensive end position, Alex Magee and Wallace Gilberry served as the primary backups to Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey. Specific to that rotation of four, Gilberry did not take any repetitions at outside linebacker and Dorsey did not rep at nose tackle (Derek Lokey and Shaun Smith were in the mix at nose).

· Derrick Johnson found himself with the same linebacking mate as last season. He and Jovan Belcher ran with the two’s at inside linebacker today.

· Dexter McCluster practiced with the wide receivers. He traded off days between running back and wide receiver during rookie camp.

· TE Leroy Banks officially became a member of the Chiefs just hours before the start of OTAs and he was thrown into the deep end from the start. With both Brad Cottam and Tony Moeaki sitting out of drills, Banks learned on the fly from Leonard Pope and Jake O’Connell in the smallest position group at today’s practice.

· Reshard Langford got a lot of work today at safety. This is an interesting player, who many may have forgotten about with the drafting of Eric Berry. Langford, if you remember, was acquired from Philadelphia’s practice squad on Christmas Day last year.

· I’m not sure if the Chiefs had an inordinate amount of drops today, but every time a receiver drops the football people are going to take notice. That’s just the nature of the beast when you lead the league in drops a year ago. Today, three newer players had noticeable drops – Jerheme Urban, Dexter McCluster and Rich Gunnell – but all rebounded with nice catches at some point during the workout.

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