After their first off day of training camp, the Kansas City Chiefs were back on the field this morning for the first of two practices. Filing reports from practice are Josh Looney @ KCChiefs.com, Bob Gretz @ BobGretz.com & CBSSports.com and the staff at UWRF.
For the first time during training camp, Todd Haley has the team just in shells to open a two-a-day session. With the first game of the preseason coming up on Saturday, Haley could be trying to get the team’s legs back under them.
Mike Vrabel made his return to the practice field today. Sitting out today’s first session are Monty Beisel, Zach Thomas, G Tavares Washington, Demorrio Williams, Wade Smith, DaJuan Morgan, Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles.
The offense and defense split into individual drills. The entire defense ran through bag drills as a group, instead of breaking up into DL, LB, DBs. The offense went to individual drills, but all eyes are on the WRs. Coach Dedric Ward used bags to hit the receivers as they caught the ball on crossing and slant routes. The lightest guys, Quinten Lawrence and Bobby Engram had the most trouble holding onto the ball.
The team then came together for a special team session. Punt, punt block/return and kickoff coverages have all been covered. Very little of the work was done with full lines. Instead each unit divided up into specific segments (interior/exterior rush, gunners, etc.).
Matt Cassel struggled during the 11-on-11 session. His first three passes were incomplete, with one hitting the ground without any receiver in the area. He finished 1-4.
During the situational portion, the offense was told they had a lead with a few seconds to go and had to run out the clock. Facing 4th down and not wanting a blocked punt, the quarterback was told to launch the ball high and out of bounds. Tyler Thigpen had one ball land in bounds, which drew the ire of Haley: “How can you screw that up? Al you have to do is throw it high and out of bounds.”
The final situation had the offense needing 70 yards for a touchdown with 5 seconds on the clock. Cassel threw across the middle to running back Javarris Williams who in turn was to flip the ball to Mark Bradley. But after Williams caught the ball, Bradley was no where to be found. Bradley got an earful from Haley: “The Kansas City Chiefs just lost a game because Mark Bradley didn’t know where he was suppose to be. You have to explain that to your teammates!”
Following practice, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and Matt Cassel spent extra time with Lawrence. Also Alex Magee and Tyson Jackson worked with defensive line coach Tim Krumrie on getting off the line of scrimmage and correct hand/arm placement while busting through the block.
Not much to take away from this early practice in the way of individual performance. Bradley and Thigpen got an earful in the situational session, but not much apart from that. Clearly Todd Haley wants to make sure his special teams are ready for their first dress rehearsal Saturday at Arrowhead against the Texans.
KCChiefs.com has done a great job with their video segments — not to mention the constant updates from Josh Looney — and I really hope we get to see some of the drill that Dedric Ward put the receivers through today. If these guys aren’t going to catch the ball, the coaches are just going to have to beat it into them and I’m plenty fine with that line of attack.