Aug 14, 2007, 6:57:10 PM
By Josh Looney
Breakdown: The Chiefs concluded their final practice in River Falls this afternoon around 1:15 PM. Similar to yesterday’s session, head coach Herm Edwards mixed special teams work into the practice routine. After running through kickoff return duties, Edwards led his club through individual, seven-on-seven, team run and 11-on-11 drills.
Players were in a chipper mood when Edwards blew the final whistle signaling the end of training camp. Even though camp in River Falls has concluded, there is still plenty of work to be done once the team returns to Kansas City.
“It’s ended for us,” Edwards said after practice. “I think we got a lot of things accomplished in camp. It will be similar when we go back to Arrowhead, we will kind of be in a camp mode on certain things we are trying to do. But for the most part I think we accomplished a lot of the things we wanted to do, especially the young guys. Now it’s just a matter of, in the next two games, the veteran guys getting into game shape and playing. So that is kind of going to be our mindset right now when we go back and play this game and the next game.”
Miami Game Plan: Expect to see Kansas City’s starters play a little longer on Thursday against Miami than they did against Cleveland. After most of the starters only played 10-12 plays last Saturday, Edwards expects to see the majority of his first unit on the field for most of the first half against the Dolphins.
“They will probably play into the second quarter,” Edwards said of his starters on both sides of the football. “We want to get everyone into a little bit of game shape and it’s going to be great, it’s going to be hot. So that kind of helps us too. Now if it’s really hot, you kind of get a little nervous obviously because of the heat, but I think for the most part they know they are going to play a lot more. They have got to get into the 25 (plays) somewhere around a half a football game.”
Edwards also reiterated that QB Damon Huard will be the starting quarterback for the Miami game. Expect to see QB Brodie Croyle come off the bench sometime in the second quarter and play into the third quarter.
The Joker: Numerous jokes and pranks are pulled on players, coaches and staff members over the course of a three-week training camp. One of S Bernard Pollard’s favorite pranks is to hand over water bottles with loose lids to anyone needing a water break. Today, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was added to Pollard’s list of victims.
Defensive players were rolling in laughter when Cunningham dumped an entire bottle of water down his chest as he tried to drink out of the booby-trapped water bottle. Other victims of Pollard’s water bottle prank this camp have included special teams coach Mike Priefer and former University of Kansas LB Nick Reid.
Plays Of The Day:
Chiefs defenders logged five interceptions over the course of today’s practice. CB Ty Law, LB Derrick Johnson, S Bernard Pollard, LB Rich Scanlon and DE Jared Allen all achieved the feat. Allen’s interception was an impressive tip-and-pick at the line of scrimmage, while Law’s turnover was marked with controversy after it appeared the ball had hit the ground first. Law maintained that he lifted the ball off of his foot, not the ground, to log the interception.
QB Damon Huard went four-for-four during seven-on-seven drills with three touchdowns. He hooked up with TE Tony Gonzalez on a beautifully thrown corner route for a 25-yard touchdown. Huard then found Gonzalez again on the very next play on an out pattern near the goal line. He added his third TD toss of the session when he found FB Kris Wilson in the back of the end zone.
Edwards set the scenario for the final practice play of River Falls training camp: fourth-and-goal from the four-yard line, down six points with no time left. QB Brodie Croyle dropped back, avoided pressure and fired a pass into the end zone. Croyle’s attempt was batted at the line of scrimmage, but the velocity of the throw caused the ball to flutter all the way to the back of the end zone where WR Brad Ekwerekwu made the “game winning” catch.
Look Who’s Talking:
“Throw (the ball) away on a screen. Out of bounds. Not just in the flats.“
- QB Brodie Croyle on a lesson he learned from the Cleveland game.
Look Ahead: Time to pack up. The Chiefs will eat breakfast and pick up their personal belongings before boarding an afternoon flight back to Kansas City. The club is set to make their 2007 Arrowhead debut against Miami on Thursday at 7:00 PM.
You Asked It: Submit your questions to River Falls Wrap, Chiefs Chatter and Camping With The Chiefs by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.
Kenny from Omaha, NE: “With training camp coming to a close and the NFL making teams cut down their rosters, when can we expect the first set of cuts to take place and then how long before the teams need to be down to the 53-man roster?”
JL: Kenny, the NFL has a very specific policy when dealing with roster deadlines. Each club must trim their roster to 75 players by 3:00 PM on Tuesday, August 28th. The final mandatory cutdown to 53 players must be made by 3:00 PM on Saturday, September 1st. On Sunday, September 2nd, clubs may establish an eight-man practice squad.
Steve K. from Kansas City.: “I would like to know how the draft picks from last year are doing in camp this year.”
JL: Steve, from the wording of your question, I assume you are referring to Kansas City’s 2006 draft class. Let’s take a look…
1st round, 20th overall – DE Tamba Hali – After starting all 16 games and logging 8.0 sacks as a rookie, Hali is once again slated to start at left defensive end this season. He’s having a solid camp and will be a central figure on the Chiefs defense.
2nd round, 54th overall – S Bernard Pollard – Pollard has consistently made heads turn throughout training camp. He’s been all over the place breaking up passes, flying to ball carries and logging interceptions. His solid play over the course of camp was rewarded when he was on the field as the starting strong safety at Cleveland last Saturday.
3rd round, 85th overall – QB Brodie Croyle – Obviously, Croyle is locked in a training camp battle with QB Damon Huard for the club’s starting quarterback position. One of Croyle’s greatest assets, and a major reason the Chiefs drafted him, is his strong arm. He has displayed a knack for hitting receivers with quick, accurate throws during training camp.
5th round, 154th overall – CB Marcus Maxey – Maxey spent time with both the Chiefs and Chicago Bears during his rookie season. He’s back with the Chiefs in training camp this year and finds himself in the midst of fierce competition to back-up CBs Ty Law and Patrick Surtain.
6th round, 186th overall – G Tre Stallings – Stallings has quietly had a pretty good training camp. He’s currently working with the second unit behind G John Welbourn. Recently retired 12-time Pro Bowl G Will Shields was high on Stallings when he visited camp last week, which tells you a lot.
6th round, 190th overall – WR Jeff Webb – Webb filled in nicely last season when return man WR Dante Hall missed two games due to injury. He played in 10 games a season ago, catching three passes for 23 yards. He’s currently in the mix among the wide receiver corps and is vying for the 2007 kick return duties.
7th round, 228th overall – S Jarrad Page – Page is quite possibly one of the biggest steals of the 2006 NFL Draft. After shining last season as the club’s primary nickel back, Page is currently penciled in as the starting free safety. Go through all of the seventh-round draft picks from the past five years and tell me how many of those players started in the second professional season. It’s not very many. The Chiefs believe they’ve really found a hidden gem in Page.
Questions?: Is there a question about training camp or the Chiefs that you want answered? A handful of questions will be answered daily in the River Falls Wrap. Chiefs insiders Rocco and Stuckey will also discuss submitted fan questions weekly in Chiefs Chatter.