Around The Web: Coach Abare, Copper’s Last Stop, Grading The DBs

Former Yale University All-American and Chiefs mini-camp participant Bobby Abare has been named linebackers coach at Wagner College.BobbyAbare2

Abare was a Buck Buchanan Award Finalist (Top Defensive Player), a Walter Camp First-team All-America and a Sporting Network Second-team All-America selection in 2008.  A First-team All-Ivy and All-New England selection, he led Yale with 86 tackles (55 solo, 31 assisted) and was tied for the team lead with four interceptions.  A team captain and Yale’s Most Valuable Player of the Year as a senior, Abare was also a First-team All-Ivy and All-New England selection as a sophomore and junior.

Yale ‘s leading tackler the past three seasons, Abare participated in a min-icamp with with the Kansas City Chiefs in May before electing to pursue a collegiate coaching career.  In addition to his coaching responsibilities at Wagner, Abare will also be pursuing a masters degree.  Head Coach Walt Hameline is excited to add someone like Abare to the Wagner program.

“His passion and knowledge of the game will be major assets and I think he is well-equipped to translate that success to our players.”

Back when the Chiefs brought him in for a look, I thought he could be a perfect guy to steal a roster spot.  Not only did he have a stellar collegiate career (even against lower competition) but he seemed to fit the “tough, smart football player” profile that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley value.  Good luck at Wagner, Bobby.

Chiefs WR Terrance Copper is hoping the fourth stop in his NFL career will be his last.

Copper, who has 46 receptions for 600 yards and six touchdowns in his career, is looking to bounce back strong following an injury-plagued, frustrating season where he split time with the Saints and Ravens.  The 6-0, 207-pound receiver suffered a neck injury last year, while an illness cost him 12 pounds, and a lot of strength.

“I’m feeling a lot better.  I’m stronger.  I went through mini-camp and OTAs with no injuries.  I took care of my body a lot, and I’m still continuing to do that.”

Copper joins a team that went just 2-14 last year, the worst record in franchise history.  However, the sixth-year receiver believes the Chiefs have a chance to do some impressive things this year.

“This team is a lot like the (20)06 Saints.  They were 3-13 and then ended up going to the NFC Championship game the next year. This team reminds me a lot of that team.  We have a new quarterback coming in and a new coaching staff.  All of the players are down to earth and everybody is willing to work.”

Copper, known mainly for his standout play on special teams (41 special-teams tackles and 26 kickoff returns for 502 yards), is hoping to make an impact at receiver.  However, he’ll play wherever he is needed.

“I’m going to be put wherever I need to be put to help win the game.  I’m not worried about that right now. Everything will take care of itself.  We have a good receiving corps.  I think we have a young receiving corps, but they’re good from top to bottom.  I’m excited about this year.”

Finding himself in four different color uniforms over the first five years of his career, Copper is hoping he’ll be wearing the red and yellow of the Chiefs for some time.

“My favorite color is red, that’s a plus for me.  I’m with a new team, it’s a fresh start and I’m excited about it.”

There has been a lot of talk about the lack of depth at wide receiver, and rightfully so, but there is also plenty of potential.  We know how good Bowe could be, but there are guys like Mark Bradley, Devard Darling and Bobby Engram all who have the ability to be the No. 2 WR on this team if they can put it all together in training camp.  Then you have veterans like Copper, Jeff Webb and rookies Taurus Johnson and Quinten Lawrence who will all be fighting for that final receiver spot.  It certainly isn’t Boldin-Fitzgerald-Breaston, but the Chiefs could end up putting out a solid receiving corps on the field.

Over at the Red Zone Blog, Kent Babb has been analyzing the Chiefs position-by-position over the past couple of weeks.  Today he tackles (pun intended) the defensive backs and hands out his final grades.

TALENT: B+ — Brandon Flowers had first-round talent last year when the Chiefs grabbed him in the second round.  Brandon Carr was a fifth-rounder, and Maurice Leggett went undrafted — but both became starters.  Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard have plenty to prove, but Mike Brown is there to either push the Herm Edwards holdovers or take one of their jobs.  Either way, Brown will be a factor.

CHEMISTRY: A — It occasionally was an uncomfortable assignment for three rookies to start and finish games for the Chiefs last season, but they proved themselves capable.  All of Kansas City’s defensive backs seem to have good rapport because, if nothing else, they have shared in some difficult times together.

EXPERIENCE: B- — The Chiefs’ top four cornerbacks have one year or less of experience, but they did play significant amounts last season.  The youngsters will be better in 2009 than a year ago, but they still might carry with them some growing paints.

OUTLOOK: A- — The Chiefs’ most reliable position should enter the 2009 season in good shape.  Pollard must show improvement from last season, and he’s the more likely candidate to relinquish his starting job to Brown, who is a natural free safety but whose talent allows him to shift to the strong safety position, too.

With the front seven going through the biggest change in scheme, it’s more important than ever for the defensive backfield to lead the way for the Chiefs defense.  No matter what his role ends up being, a healthy Mike Brown will go a long way to solidifying the defensive backfield.  And if he does earn a starting spot, maybe that means we see even more from Pollard on special teams.  For a coach that is putting so much emphasis on special teams, the more you have someone like Pollard on the field, the better your special teams are going to be.

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