UPDATES FROM UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN - RIVER FALLS
Thursday, August 6: Afternoon Practice
The ninth practice of Summer Training Camp started off with a partly sunny skies at 77 degrees with a dewpoint of 48. The humidity was only 36 precent and there was a slight breeze at four miles-per-hour towards the north-northwest.
There were fewer people today at the ninth Kansas City Chiefs practice. About 165 people attended, leaving each fan to a variety of seating choices.
Prior to the start of the teams 11-on-11, quarterback Matt Cassel decided to have a little fun and get everybody fired up with an old car rental jingle. He clapped out the beginning and yelled, “Lets go!” at the end.
NFL official Mike Carey and his crew were at practice today, “working out the kinks,” as one of them said after practice. Carey has been an NFL referee since 1995 and officiated Super Bowl XLII between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. Head Coach Todd Haley said that the officials will be here through Saturday.
During tight end Brad Cottam’s post-practice interview with reporters, full back Mike Cox was trying to distract his teammate. Cox was standing behind the reporters, making faces and ducking in and out of the interview. Cottam did a good job keeping his composure.
Signing autographs after practice along the west fence were center Rudy Niswanger, guard Brian De La Puente and tackle Damion McIntosh, amongst others.
Kicker Ryan Succop got three field goal attempts against a defense. Succop hit all three tries from 38, 42, and 45 yards. His first attempt was from 34 yards against air; he also hit that.
Linebackers Demorrio Williams, Monty Beisel and Weston Dacus and cornerback DaJuan Morgan worked out instead of participating in practice this afternoon. Dacus was seen with a brace on his right ankle. Linebacker Zach Thomas was nowhere to be found during practice, as well.
During one of the defensive line drills, Defensive Line Coach Tim Krumrie hollered, “Compete now. Compete with yourself!” Later, the group ran a drill on the single sled. Krumrie expected the men to “lock it out, then disengage.” After hitting the sled once, the players hit it for a second time before charging at Equipment Assistant Kyle Crumbaugh, who represented the ball carrier. During the drill, defensive end Glenn Dorsey got complimented by Krumrie. “The second one was really good,” the coach told the second-year player.
The cornerbacks worked on a new drill this afternoon. They were leveling the cone-shaped dummies at the goal line. After the drill, a trainer stretched safety Jon McGraw’s legs.
During 11-on-11, rookie defensive end Alex Magee continued to work with the first-string. Defensive end Glenn Dorsey, practicing for only the third time today, switched with Magee after one play. Two plays later, Magee was in for Dorsey again. Also during 11-on-11, safety Bernard Pollard clobbered running back Larry Johnson after a quarterback Matt Cassel handoff. Linebacker Corey Mays was pretty fired up after the play and jumped on Pollard’s back as he walked back to the defensive side of the ball.
During 7-on-7 on field 2, safety Jon McGraw picked off quarterback Brodie Croyle’s pass in the endzone and took a knee.
Linebackers Derrick Johnson and Corey Mays teamed up to sack quarterback Matt Cassel during the team’s 11-on-11 third down situation drill.
During the “Half-Line” drill, which pits three defensemen against three to four offensive linemen and tight ends, linebacker Turk McBride broke threw the line and blew the play in the backfield.
On the first play of the “Team Run” drill, which is 7-on-7 running plays, defensive end Alex Magee made his presence known. Magee pushed tackle Branden Albert back into the backfield and right into running back Larry Johnson. Johnson was able to stay up and fought for a five-yard gain. Veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel didn’t seem too pleased with the effort from the rest of the defense. “Recognize these (freaking) formations!”
The biggest defensive play of the day was made during the team’s 11-on-11 drill by defensive end Alex Magee and was finished by linebacker Andy Studebaker. Magee drilled running back Jackie Battle, who fumbled the football. The ball took one hop right into the hands of Studebaker, who took it to the house.
While doing some one-on-one blocking drills, rookie defensive end Alex Magee dominated tight end Sean O’Connell. Before the interaction started, Defensive Line Coach Tim Krumrie told Magee, “He is just a tight end.”
Defensive end Tamba Hali was seen working with Defensive Line Coach Tim Krumrie after practice, getting some extra reps.
Cornerback Brandon Flowers spoke with reporters after practice. At the start of the interview, defensive end Alfonso Boone was fooling around with Flowers said that he loves the 3-4 defense the Chiefs are running this season. “It doesn’t really affect the secondary much,” the second-year back said. When told the reporter interviewing him just started following the cornerback on Twitter, a short messaging website, Flowers laughed. He said he uses Twitter to let fans know things about his life. “It’s good for interacting with fans,” he said. When asked if he thought he’d get in trouble for what he puts on the site, like several other athletes have in the past, Flowers said, “I wouldn’t put anything on there that would let me get in trouble.”
In an interview after practice, safety Bernard Pollard was asked if he was going to take rookie defensive end, Alex Magee, under his wing. Pollard stated, “He is trying to learn so much…I told him to take each day, one at a time.” He also mentioned that they are trying to step up, and they want to win every Sunday. “…You have to be a sponge and soak everything in!” exclaimed Pollard.
Running back Kolby Smith and guard Wade Smith were the offensive members kept out of practice.
On field 2, the quarterbacks Brodie Croyle, Matt Cassel, Tyler Thigpen and newly acquired Matt Gutierrez took snaps under center. The players snapping the ball included center Rudy Niswanger, center Eric Ghiaciuc, guard Brian De La Puente and guard Darryl Harris.
The quarterbacks spent time on field 2, throwing at the screen target. Matt Cassel threw 2-4, hitting the lower target twice. Brodie Croyle also went 2-4. Matt Gutierrez and Tyler Thigpen both threw 3-4 from the right. On the left side, Cassel and Croyle went 3-4, and Gutierrez and Thigpen went 2-4.
During 7-on-7, quarterback Matt Cassel was disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm during the drill and hollered, “The energy level is down, guys. Let’s pick it up.” Also during the drill, tight end Brad Cottam had to run from the south end of field 2 to Hunt Arena and back. It was some form of consequence.
During a drill, wide receiver Devard Darling was sent running to Hunt Arena by Head Coach Todd Haley. Haley said, “Go run. Run to the building and stay there for all I care. Are you kidding me?” The reason Darling had to run was because he lined up in the wrong spot during the drill. When Darling tried talking to Haley, the head coach yelled, “Take it in. I want guys who want to be here and aren’t sensitive and emotionally soft. Take it in.” After practice, Haley said he had no comments regarding the situation.
The quarterbacks met on field 2 to try to hit bucket targets in the corners of the endzone. All four quarterbacks were able to hit the exterior of the buckets, but only Matt Cassel could score the ball in the target during the drill from the right side. All four quarterbacks were able to make contact with the buckets from the left side as well. On the release of one of his throws, Cassel said, “Boom shock-a-locka.” Newly acquired quarterback Matt Gutierrez was able to make the ball into the target from the left side.
Quarterback Matt Gutierrez, who just signed with the team after being waived by the New England Patriots, was in camp today wearing number 15. Gutierrez was hanging around Offensive Quality Control Coach Nick Sirianni trying to soak up the offense.
Tackle Colin Brown was working with Assistant Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris on his footwork before practice.
Newly acquired wide receiver Amani Toomer snagged a fade one-handed today from quarterback Matt Cassel. There seems to be emphasis on fade routes the last few days.
Quarterback Matt Cassel got the team off to a good start in the team’s 11-on-11 drill. Cassel hit tight end Sean Ryan on a short out-route that went for over 30 yards. Cassel was fired up. “Look at that 30-yard gain, baby!” he said. Linebacker Tamba Hali caught some grief from Head Coach Todd Haley as a result. “That’s a breakdown 9-1!”
The team worked on 11-on-11 third down situations today. Each down came from varying distances. Quarterback Matt Cassel didn’t get the drill off to a very good start. Cassel dropped back four times. He was sacked once and completed only one of three throws. Quarterback Brodie Croyle made three throws during the session. The second was hauled in a for a first down by receiver Rodney Wright. Croyle’s third pass was completed to wide receiver Terrance Copper and was very close to the first down. Croyle finished 2-3. Next it was quarterback Tyler Thigpen’s chance to make some throws. Thigpen put the ball in the air completing all of them. Receiver Bobby Engram caught the first ball and was extremely close to the first down. On the next play, Thigpen hit receiver Taurus Johnson for the first down and more. The last play of the drill was a completed pass from Thigpen to Wright, but was short of the first down.
To wrap up this afternoon’s practice, the Chiefs ran a late-game situation where a touchdown was needed to win. This session was officiated by NFL official Mike Carey and his crew. Quarterback Matt Cassel got the drive going, hitting receiver Rodney Wright for a first down. Cassel went back to Wright on the next play, but the ball skipped in front of a sliding Wright. Cornerback Maurice Leggett nearly ended the drive when he stepped in front of a Cassel pass. Leggett was unable to hold on, but if he had, it would have surely ended in six points for the defense. Facing third-and-ten, Cassel found running back Jamaal Charles out of the backfield for a first down. After spiking the ball to kill the clock on first down, Cassel hit receiver Bobby Engram down the middle for a first down. Wide receiver Mark Bradley hauled in the next pass for another first down. While trying to kill the clock, Charles was still in motion, and a flag was thrown. Head Coach Todd Haley had a few words for Charles. “That is a killer, Jamaal! You can be anywhere. You can be 10 yards back if you want!” Haley shouted. Cassel tried to go to the endzone with the next two throws, but they landed incomplete. The offense was facing fourth-and-fifteen from the 23-yard line, needing a score. Cassel’s pass was complete to Wright but short of the first down, giving the win to the defense. The second-team offense tried their luck next, but it was a quick four and out. Linebacker Vince Redd knocked down the final pass, ending the drill.
Todd Haley Press Conference
Head Coach Todd Haley opened his press conference, addressing the newly signed quarterback Matt Gutierrez. “I didn’t know a lot about the guy. But he is a big, strong guy and a good preparation guy,” Haley said of Gutierrez.
Haley was then asked how he thought quarterback Brodie Croyle was progressing after a knee injury that cost him the last 10 weeks of the 2008 season and the preseason OTAs. “He has made a lot of progress,” Haley said. Haley said it’s hard for a quarterback to not be able to practice. “You miss even the little things like the cadence or being in the huddle. I think the first couple days, it took him a while to get back into the mode of practicing.”
The next questioned posed to Haley was on the emergence of defensive end Alex Magee. “I am encouraged by Alex to this point,” Haley said. “When [the coaches] are talking, he is generally listening,” continued Haley. “He is one of the guys, who when you are watching tape, you say, ‘Who is that? Oh, it’s 71.’ Those are all good signs.”
Haley mentioned that he is emphasizing special teams, and that was made clear by the large amount of time dedicated to special teams today. “Special teams are a big part of the game today,” the head coach said. He also mentioned that he will not really know who his kick returners are until “the bullets start flying, and we meet the Houston Texans.”
Once again, Haley reiterated that every position is an open competition. He was asked separate questions about the battle at running back and center. Haley said he was interested to see how the running back battle plays out. As far as the center battle, Haley didn’t rule out making a position change to improve competition.