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OTA Notebook: Baldwin turns heads with highlight-reel grab

Posted May 29, 2012

Jonathan Baldwin’s one-handed touchdown catch was the talk of Chiefs OTAs Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday’s practice was by far the most up-tempo, action-packed session of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) the Chiefs have held this offseason.

New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll focused on a hurry-up attack throughout practice as the Chiefs capped off the day with three competitive periods of the two-minute drill. A ridiculous one-handed touchdown catch from WR Jonathan Baldwin kicked off the scrimmage-like atmosphere and a pick-six from CB Jalil Brown concluded the practice.

Baldwin’s grab came during the final seconds of the first two-minute period with CB Stanford Routt draped all over him. He ran a go-route down the left sideline from about 40 yards out, leaped to palm the football at its highest point and then fell into the end zone with his arm extended as Routt landed on top of him.

The catch came with about 10 seconds remaining in a situation that mocked 1:30 on the clock, one timeout remaining and the offense needing a touchdown.

“With guys like that you have to give them an opportunity to make a play,” said QB Matt Cassel, who delivered the pass to Baldwin. “He’s such a big target and he’s so physical that you just kind of have to put it in the vicinity and not overthrow it. You have to give him an opportunity to go up and out-battle somebody for the ball.”

It’s the second impressive deep ball Baldwin has reeled against Routt since OTAs began on May 21st, but this one rivaled last year’s circus catch against Brian Dawkins that was ultimately negated by penalty (the catch occurred during a portion of practice when media wasn’t permitted to film, so there is unfortunately no highlight footage available).

“Its football, sometimes you make a play and sometimes he makes one,” Routt said following practice.

Baldwin’s ability to use his 6’4” frame against smaller defenders is one of the characteristics that attracted the Chiefs to make him a first-round selection last season. Kansas City is counting on Baldwin’s second-year development after the offense notched just 20 Red Zone receptions in all of 2011.

“He’s a guy that likes to go up and compete,”Cassel said. “He’s all of that six-foot-four and he can jump, so there are not a lot of corners in the league that can go up with him vertically in that situation.”

Following Baldwin’s touchdown grab, QB Ricky Stanzi found WR Jamar Newsome in the back of the end zone to help the second-team offense best the second-team defense. Stanzi preceded the TD toss with a long run down the right sideline when he chose to tuck and run with no defensive containment.

In the third and final two-minute session, Brown picked off QB Brady Quinn and raced for a defensive score. Brown also had a near interception earlier in the practice with a quick break on the football and made several notable plays in coverage last week as well.

Reserve QB Rotation Ongoing

It’s Ricky Stanzi’s turn to work with the second-team offense.

After watching veteran Brady Quinn guide the second-string offense last week, Stanzi ran with the twos during Tuesday’s practice. According to Stanzi, his elevation on the depth chart was part of a planned rotation between him and Quinn this offseason.

“Me and Brady have switched on and off,” Stanzi said. “It’s just on and off switching.”

Regardless, Stanzi is relishing the opportunity dissect practice film after spending the majority of his rookie season as the Chiefs scout team quarterback.

The former fifth-round draft pick served as Kansas City’s backup quarterback for six games last season, but did not see any play-time. He was inactive for another 10 games and hasn’t received extensive practice snaps since last year’s training camp.

“Whenever you get the chance you try to have fun with it and learn as much as possible,” Stanzi said. “Getting it on tape is a huge part of that because you can go back and talk about it and play the what-if with all the scenarios that could possibly happen.”

The Chiefs have yet to declare a primary backup to starter Matt Cassel and the handling of backup quarterbacks during OTAs suggest the team wants a training camp competition.

Other notable personnel changes included TE Martin Rucker working as the second tight end in two tight end sets and Kyle McCarthy working at strong safety with the first-team defense. Jake O’Connell served as the second tight end next to Kevin Boss last week and rookie free agent Terrance Parks previously manned the strong safety position.

Also, Anthony Toribio received first-team looks at nose tackle in base defensive sets. First-round draft pick Dontari Poe continued to work with the number one defense in sub-package situations.

Coach Romeo Crennel said last week that he planned to rotate personnel at safety and nose tackle throughout OTAs.

Injury Report

The Chiefs had hoped to get fifth-round draft pick De’Quan Menzie on the field this week, but a hamstring injury suffered during rookie minicamp continues to sideline the defensive back. Menzie was joined by second-round draft pick OL Jeff Allen (ankle) and sixth-round pick RB Cyrus Gray (hamstring) on the sidelines.

The Chiefs continue to rest S Eric Berry (knee), RB Jamaal Charles (knee), S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder/pectoral), TE Tony Moeaki (knee) and LB Brandon Siler (Achilles). Also held out of practice were OL Rob Bruggeman (finger) and DE Ropati Pitoitua (calf).

WR Dwayne Bowe continues to stay away from OTAs with an unresolved contract situation and WR Jeremy Horne was absent from Tuesday’s practice as well.

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