Today is the first time the Chiefs used the stadium on campus. General Manager Scott Pioli addressed the crowd before the team took the field for the scrimmage.
The coaching staff is treating today like a full dress rehearsal with the first preseason game just one week away. The headsets are out and the coaches are putting the press box to full use for the full gameday atmosphere.
Sitting out today’s scrimmage were Kolby Smith, Wade Smith, DaJuan Morgan, Mike Vrabel, Monty Beisel, Zach Thomas and Demorrio Williams.
Kicking things off is the first team offense taking on the second team defense.
Larry Johnson makes the first big play, converting a third-and-short situation near midfield. But the defense quickly turn the tables when Matt Cassel mishandled a snap and DE Wallace Gilberry took the loose ball 5-yards to the house.
Cassel tries to atone for the turnover by avoiding a pass rush from Turk McBride during the second series and scrambling seven yards for a first down. He then hit TE Sean Ryan across the middle to pick up 15 yards. On second down, Cassel had Bobby Engram open in the end zone, but overthrew the veteran receiver. After failing on third down, Ryan Succop came out for a 33-yard field goal, but it was no good.
The second group to play was the first team defense taking on the second team offense.
Brodie Croyle led the second team and was sacked by Derrick Johnson. Johnson came in untouched and if the QBs could be hit, it would have been a big one. Johnson was then able to deliver a huge hit on Amani Toomer across the middle that forced the second turnover of the day. A defensive penalty, however, kept the drive alive for the offense. Though Glenn Dorsey and Tamba Hali both recorded sacks of Croyle, forcing the offense to try a 53 yard field goal. Succop connected on the kick but there was a 5-yard penalty. So Succop had to try from 58 yards out and it split the uprights with room so spare!
The third group to play was the third team offense taking on the third team defense.
Tyler Thigpen put together a nice drive down field before connecting with TE Jake O’Connell on a wheel route for a 13 yard touchdown. The two celebrated with a chest bump.
Thigpen stayed on the field to guide the second team offense against the first team defense. This time the defense stepped their game back up forcing a three and out, highlighted by a sack from DE Tyson Jackson in only his second day in pads. The two groups lined up for one more series, but that produced another three and out.
The first team offense returned to the field and ran off an impressive four-play span. Cassel hit Jamaal Charles on a shovel pass for a nice gain and on the next play scrambled his way into the red zone. Jackie Battle then had a first down run to the five yard line. Cassel capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Devard Darling on a corner route in the back left of the end zone.
Only a couple minutes later — with the same groups facing each other — the defense got a slice of revenge when CB Travis Daniels picked off a Cassel pass down the left sideline. The same groups reset once more and this time CB Ricardo Colclough picked off a pass to end the drive.
Two new groups hit the field, with the offense led by Croyle. Amani Toomer caught a pass from Croyle and took it down to the 24. RB Dantrell Savage then caught a short pass, broke a few tackles and got to the 15. The defense stopped the offense there and Succop returned to the field to kick another FG, this time from 34 yards out.
Things turned situational with the ball placed on the two yard line for a third-and-goal situation. The offense scored on the second play with Jackie Battle going up and over the pile of linemen for the touchdown.
Following the situational period, QB Matt Gutierrez saw his first action of the afternoon. He connected with TE Tom Crabtree to move the chains of third down. He then found WR Quentin Lawrence for a touchdown, with Lawrence making a great mid-air adjustment to come down with the ball.
Next, the first team offense and defense matched up for the first time. The defense came out on top with a quick three and out highlighted by a big hit down the sidelines by Bernard Pollard.
Two new groups hit the field with Thigpen leading the way on offense. He hit Toomer for a 25 yard gain across the middle. Charles took charge after that with two impressive runs that covered 35 yards and ended with touchdown. He earned applause from Haley. The same group stayed on the field and Thigpen did some work of his own. He took off scrambling inside the five yard line and then hit FB Jed Collins in the flats on a play-action pass for a touchdown.
Just as the final horn was sounding — signaling the end of the scrimmage — rain began to fall.
Things will really start to take shape after next week’s first preseason game, but you have to wonder why Brodie Croyle is running with the second team. He has had a slightly above average first week of camp, but if the was contact on the QBs, you wonder if he would have even survived the hit that was coming from Derrick Johnson. Yes, I realize Todd Haley wants to mix and match to see what he has to work with, but is it even worth the time with Croyle?
Did Ryan Succop really nail a 58 yard field goal? With room to spare? If we end up seeing more of that the rest of camp and less of the 33 yard misses, the Chiefs could really have a nasty weapon with Succop.
Good to see Jamaal Charles remind everyone that he’s here too. Most of the talk has surrounded Larry Johnson and Jackie Battle, but I still believe Charles is the biggest home run threat in the backfield.
Matt Gutierrez sure didn’t wait long to be heard from. Again, it’s just one practice, but Gutierrez is Pioli’s guy. So you have to imagine that every big time play he makes, Croyle and Tyler Thigpen feel their roster spot slipping away. If the Chiefs decide to keep three quarterbacks on the roster, my money is on Gutierrez being one of them.