Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Chiefs Training Camp Report: Day 4

We’re back with another practice report from Mike Gooding and Ryan James. Both have been providing detailed reports of each practice and we can’t thank them enough. The Chiefs were in pads yesterday and though it sounds like there may have been some injuries, the practice sounds like it went very well. Let’s get to the reports. -PA

Mike:

Back late from St. Joseph with a neighbor and AA’s Big Jim from Season Ticket Holder Day. My thoughts for Day #4:

Overall:

The biggest crowd yet and VERY VOCAL! Lots of great plays with the offense taking a definite edge today. Fans went wild for the deep balls and the increasing contact.

I read on AA today that the offense and defense aren’t too fond of each other, but–while there are certain to be players that don’t like each other (as there is in any workplace) and there have already been some heated battles in camp– there is the reality that players on the same side of the ball are just as likely to not like each other, as these are the guys directly trying to take your job. And while there is some truth to all this “hate,” the reality that I see is professional competition and players coaching each other up on both sides of the ball. The situation that exemplifies this from yesterday was when I overheard Flowers telling Baldwin about his body position after breaking a TD attempt in the front corner. Everywhere I look I see them encouraging each other. It appears that they have bought into Crennel’s team-first direction whole hog.

Branden Albert was back in pads and told me afterwards it felt great. Brandon Siler was out both of both AM and PM practices. Word is it’s his ankle; no word if it is related to the achilles that sidelined him all last year. Ugoh retired after 2 days, no word on Kyle McCarthy, and Junior Hemingway was carted off the field.

On a lighter note, I asked Houston while he was signing an autograph for me “who will have the most sacks this year – you or Hali? Just as a smile began to appear on his face, McCluster piped up that he was going to be the leader! Everyone had a good laugh about that! I said to McCluster “sounds like you’re going to be doing it all this year.” He replied “That’s right.”

Lewis, Charles, Moeaki, Berry and Cassel ALL practiced full speed the entire practice, with the ACL crew getting more reps during the 11-on-11 contact drills. Moeaki is showing some sign of easing back in today.

PADS today were a poppin’. There was definitely more contact today, especially between the WRs and DBs.

Offense:

Donald Stephenson planted Houston, and on the next play Houston smoked Winston on an outside speed rush. I don’t think either one was really a “bad play” by the player who was bested, it’s just that we have such deep, competitive talent that someone has to win. Great sign for the team overall– especially for the late season run. Charles, Hillis, Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray AND Nate Eachus all looked great!

Still no multiple back sets were run – can’t wait to see JC, Hills & DMC together, but Daboll is starting to implement some creative sets with Hillis/Moeaki split out wide. I believe the single most important factor this season will be Daboll’s utilization of the multitude of weapons he has in the right amount of snaps per player.

Cassel looked even better today, hitting Baldwin deep, having more velocity on his throws, and consequently drawing praise from Daboll.

Stanzi looked very good yesterday & today. Quinn looked sharper and is going to make a push not just to beat Ricki for the #2 spot but for Cassel’s job too. Alex Tanney showed them all up during the drill where they throw into a net with target pockets– the further back they went the more the others started missing except for “Trickshot” who made them ALL. Hopefully the practice squad?

Wylie looked great yesterday returning kicks; his 1st step is faster than anyone’s and he fields the ball in a position already moving forward if that makes sense. Zeke Markshausen is getting separation and seemed faster– more confident– catching everything.

I have not seen Baldwin drop a ball yet and HE IS A BEAST! What was the name of that WR we all wanted to get his ass to work?

Josh Bellamy, #8, is really looking great and excelled again today. Jeff Kinney had his best day. Breaston is putting on a clinic with clean routes, separation, excellent hands and body control.

Defense:

I asked Jackson how it was possible that he looks bigger AND quicker? He replied “Anything is possible.” Poe looks better every day – I am predicting he will be the starter by the 1st week of regular season even though Toribio isn’t about to give in. Poe said he is feeling more comfortable every day.

Poe has been so gracious EVERY day– Another man of character thanks to Pioli & Crennel.

In Siler’s absence, Dexter Heyman stood out again in run defense.

Routt (looking better today) did get burned by Baldwin deep but the way JB used his size made it impossible to defend. Flowers had another pick 6 off of Quinn until Boss, who was not in on the play and was carrying his helmet in hand, darted over to force Flowers out of bounds! Too funny and that brought a roar of support and laughter from the crowd.

Jalil Brown had another good day with numerous passes defended.

Special Teams:

They ran the Mayday drill where the offense runs a play to get them into FG range but with no time outs and the clock running out around the 30-35 yard line. Succoup missed them all and was just horrible on the day. I have had concerns about his inconsistency outside the 40 and think it is critical for a playoff team to be able to count on success in that range. Today didn’t make me feel any better about him in that situation. ST’s are getting a lot of focus and time and is an area that could make or break us in the tight games I expect for us this year.

Ryan:

What a turnaround today was! The sky was overcast, and the offense was clicking on all cylinders. This was by far the best showing of the offense. The real refreshing part was the defense still looked good! It was great to see Eric Berry (My favorite Chief) involved in all parts of practice today.

Offense

For the first part of practice, the QB’s did an accuracy drill where they would simulate looking off a receiver and then turning to hit a backdrop net that had 3 squares cut in it, red, white and black. The coach would yell one color and the QB would hit that square. Cassel really struggled at this drill. Quinn and Stanzi were good at it but when they started backing up the QB’s away from the backdrop, Stanzi’s passes started to sail a little bit. It is noted that Alex Tanney did not miss one target! I love Tanney but the only way I see him making this team is if they play Quinn a lot during preseason to shop him at then end.

Jamaal Charles returned to full practice today as yesterday he was held out of contact drills. It was a breath of fresh air when he broke through the line between a Lilja and Winston hole big enough to drive a truck through and went streaking down the middle of the field.

The real story of the day came in the passing game orchestrated by Matt Cassel. That’s right, Matt Cassel looked great today in team drills. He hit McCluster on a crossing pattern that would have been good for a first down. Moeaki had some nice snags. However, his favorite target is by far Jon Baldwin. Baldwin has yet to drop a pass in camp and Cassel looks to have more confidence in Baldwin then he ever had with Bowe. He hit Baldwin deep twice today, once in a 7-on-7 drill and then again in 11-on-11. Both times was against Stanford Routt. It’s not Routt’s fault either! Both plays Routt could not of been in a better position. Cassel put the ball where it needed to be and Baldwin made 2 amazing catches.

Shaun Draughn is really starting to separate himself from Cyrus Gray. He is a physical and shifty runner that reminds me of MJD. The question is going to be if the Chiefs will keep 4 RB’s on the roster with Charles, Hillis, Gray and Draughn. Or will one be cut? Definitely worth the watch.

Defense

Branden Siler was absent from practice today. Kcchiefs.com says that it was an ankle problem. Will definitely keep an eye on this situation considering his Achilles history.

Poe looked great again today. He is receiving coaching at every moment he can get. Whether it be from coaches or Torribio. Poe did get his first look with the ones today when the team was practicing the 2 minute offense. It is only a matter of time before he becomes the starter. It will probably be toward the end of preseason though. It won’t take long for this guy to become a force in the NFL. I saw him shed a block today and make a tackle in the hole stopping the back for maybe a one yard gain.

Flowers continues to show up.  He picked off Brady Quinn for the second day in a row.  He also made some nice pass breakups throughout the day.
The biggest thing about Lewis that stood out to me this year is how vocal he is.  When Berry went out last year, Lewis had to pick up some slack.  There was a play today in which, just before the snap, Lewis came running up calling out a sweep to his side. Gabe Miller made a quick adjustment to the play and broke into the backfield and made the tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
Observations
  • Eric Berry has been playing extremely close to the line of scrimmage this year.  He is almost acting an extra linebacker.  My thoughts are this is Crennel’s way to combat the new wave of TE’s that are coming through the league.
  • Amon Gordon has not been working as nose guard at all.  Right now, Torribio is one, Poe is two and Powe is three.

I would like to thank Allen Kerns for taking all the pics. Tell him how good of a job he is doing and let him know what shots you would like to see by tweeting at him: @savgechiefs92.

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