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Insider Blog: Thursday OTA Report

Posted May 27, 2010

Thursday's OTA was by far the most eventful practice session of the off-season to date

There was no holiday lull to be found at the Chiefs final OTA before a three-day Memorial Weekend. In fact, Thursday’s OTA was the most eventful off-season practice that the Chiefs have had to date.

Big plays were made across the field on both sides of the football, competition boiled over an official’s no-call, Dexter McCluster’s shoes exploded on a TD catch and a player had to pack it up early due to an injury.

All that and more is inside our Thursday OTA report…

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

WR David Grimes

The cast of rehab zone players consisted of the same crew as Monday’s OTA. The name at the top of that list, Quinten Lawrence, got some play today from head coach Todd Haley.

A sixth-round pick a year ago, Lawrence bided his time back and forth between the practice squad and active roster in 2009. Being both a young and inexperienced player competing amongst a large pool of position players, it’s easy to assume that Lawrence needs to be on the practice field every day in order to make this team. Haley, however, warned people this afternoon about jumping to that conclusion when it comes to Lawrence.

“It’s always a setback when you’re not out there, but I think this kid has showed a lot of toughness, because (the injury) was something that he dealt with throughout the course of the year that we didn’t really realize was quite what it was,” Haley said. “That impressed me, number one, because we couldn’t get him off of the practice field. He wanted to be out there and he wanted to compete.”

The injury that Haley references involves Lawrence’s shoulder. Lawrence has yet to take part in any OTAs.

“Missing time hurts, but he’s been working his butt of in the weight room,” Haley said. “Sometimes what you think is a setback might be a positive, because he’s been able to spend so much extra time working on specific parts of his body, which I think will really help him once he gets going.

“He’s right on schedule,” Haley continued. “I’m excited about him being back.”

Croyle Leaves Early

QB Brodie Croyle had to leave practice early when he suffered a finger injury during team period towards the end of practice. During Red Zone work, Croyle delivered a TD pass to a crossing Jerheme Urban in the back of the end zone. On that same play, Croyle’s finger hit a defender’s helmet on his follow-thru.

Haley wasn’t asked about the injury during his post-practice press conference and Croyle was not in the locker room.

Personnel Tidbits

After virtually no changes to the “starting lineups” during the first five OTA sessions, practice number six did not follow suit. Players were shuffling in and out of the rotation on a constant basis. Noteworthy changes to the first-team for Thursday included Barry Richardson working at right tackle, Casey Wiegmann going at center and Dexter McCluster becoming the first rookie not named Eric Berry to “start” a team period on either side of the football.

As practice moved on, a multitude of other players repped with first-team personnel.

Note that Haley has stated throughout OTAs that spring depth charts can change daily for a multitude of reasons. Take it with a grain of salt.

Screen Busters

Two of the finer defensive plays of the day came against attempted screen passes. Though he seemed to have an excellent practice overall, Dexter McCluster made an error on one of his screen routes and a savvy veteran made him pay (well, would have made him pay should the Chiefs have actually been practicing with pads and live contact).

On the screen attempt, McCluster got spread wider than his blockers and OLB Mike Vrabel easily recognized the route. As soon as the pass was delivered to McCluster, Vrabel was hot on the route to clean it up. This one had big hit written all over it.

Re-signed this off-season not only to be an impactful player, Vrabel’s return to Kansas City also brings a player who is proven to be fundamentally sound and able to successfully lead by example. That aspect of Vrabel’s game was prevalent today when DL Alex Magee made a very similar play later on in practice. Magee read the play like a veteran player, rather than a second-year player who served a reserve role his rookie season.

Vrabel and Magee’s screen busts qualify for defensive plays of the day. Honorable mention could go to CB Travis Daniels who had two INTs in 7-on-7 drills and to LB Demorrio Williams who ended a two –minute drill with a pick of Matt Guiterrez.

Cassel Criticizes Head Referee

If this were the regular season, Matt Cassel might have gotten fined. Generally there is a tight rope to walk in the NFL when it comes to criticizing officials. Today, however, Cassel walked away free from any fines…we think.

Just because its and intrasquad team period in May, without pads mind you, doesn’t mean that Cassel is going to tone back his competiveness. During two-minute work, Cassel gave an official a slice of his opinion after what he thought was a missed offsides call. The man serving as head official at today’s practice, by the way, was head coach Todd Haley.

“Yeah, he is an excitable guy which you like that about it and you love the enthusiasm,” Haley said. “At the same time he has to keep control. He was yelling at the officials and the official happened to be me. He said I made a bad call.”

Bowe Dominates Red Zone

Dwayne Bowe parlayed his solid Monday practice into something more on Thursday. Not only did Bowe look sharp in making both routine and tough catches, he also dominated the Red Zone period - something that Kansas City will need from him on Sundays.

In a set of six Red Zone snaps, QB Matt Cassel found Bowe for TDs on two of them. One was an impressive jump ball catch that we've seen Bowe make before.

Explosive

Caution: If you’re a shoe on the foot of Dexter McCluster, you’re subject to complete destruction.

McCluster turned in perhaps the most impressive offensive play of OTAs with a long catch and run up the seam, capped off with a foot race against Eric Berry. McClsuter’s move to beat fellow Ole Miss teammate Kendrick Lewis was eye opening and his speed in the open field was powerful. But the best thing about the play didn’t come until the team came into the locker room. It was there that McCluster reveled the exploded sole of his Nike cleat. The destruction occurred on the cut he made to dart past Lewis into the open field.

Today, McCluster literally ran out of his shoes.

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