The Kansas City Chiefs were back at it tonight for the second of two practices. As always, Josh Looney @ KCChiefs.com, Bob Gretz @ CBSSports.com/BobGretz.com and the staff at UWRF all filed reports on the session.
TE Jake O’Connell made his Chiefs training camp debut after sitting out due to an injury. That gives Todd Haley and Chan Gailey three tight ends to work with in practice. The player sitting out of this second practice of the day are RB Kolby Smith, S DaJuan Morgan, LB Demorrio Williams, LB Derrick Johnson, G Edwin Harrison, DT Glenn Dorsey, G Wade Smith, TE Tony Curtis and TE Brad Cottam.
Another new element for 2009: all offensive and defensive linemen wear knee braces on both knees for practice. This doesn’t appear to be optional and should cut down on the knee sprains the team has suffered, like what happened with Glenn Dorsey and OT Damion McIntosh this previous two camps.
During one-on-one blitz pickup drills, Mike Vrabel was very impressive. On the other side of the ball, Larry Johnson also looked good in the drill, which is noteworthy since he has had issues with blitz pickup during his career. These two guys are the first matchup of the blitz pickup drill every day.
The Chiefs had their first skirmish of camp when OT Herb Taylor got tangled with an unidentified defensive lineman and ended up on his back. No matter the reason, you fight, you run. The entire team had to run a 200 yard penalty for the mini-fight. “We are not going to beat ourselves,” Haley told his players.
There was plenty of other extra running. Three defensive linemen jumped offsides and had to run: DE Alfonso Boone, DE Dion Gales and NT Derek Lokey.
The quarterbacks were put through a unique drill. There were two trash cans stacked on top of each other in the back corner of the end zone as the target for the quarterbacks. Ingle Martin had the most impressive performance in the drill, sinking one from 30 yards out and received an ovation from the crowd and a thumbs-up from Chan Gailey.
LB Wes Dacus left practice early with an injury to his right foot.
Vrabel continued his solid performance today by busting up the first play of the 11-on-11 session. He made a play three yards deep in the backfield.
Brandon Flowers made a diving INT of a Matt Cassel pass intended for Dwayne Bowe on a mid-range out route on the sideline. The ball was thrown well, but Flowers made a great break in front of Bowe to grab the INT.
There was a great deal of work on kick returns and kick coverage in the session. Special teams coach Steve Hoffman fielded his first kickoff coverage unit (from left to right): Bernard Pollard, Brandon Carr, Jovan Belcher, Jackie Battle, Ryan Succop, Terrance Copper, Mike Brown, Andy Studebaker, Flowers and Jarrad Page.
Succop hit a 53-yard FG to the cheers of his teammates.
I love that Johnson and Vrabel have a showdown with each other every day as part of the blitz pickup drill. If anyone is going to help LJ finally get over his fear of blocking, it’ll be Vrabel. And I hate to harp on it, but I’m going to do it anyway… These are the type of things that Vrabel could have brought to the voluntary workouts. But I digress.
You never want your players fighting, but it’s hard to avoid a shoving match or two during two-a-days. And to be honest, is it so bad to see a little fire? As long as no one is stupid enough to throw a punch (Hello, broken hand!) then it can actually be cathartic.
A 53-yard kick on the third day of practice? What was that about my hope for a kicking competition? Nevermind.