He finds the Fountain of Youth two times each day. In the morning walk-thru, his hustle is both unmistakable and unnecessary. Players are directed to jog through plays, but he jogs a little bit faster, and on a long handoff play, he gets to the gap just quick enough to meet Peyton Hillis there. He can’t hit, but if he could, his tackle would surely be for a loss.
Hali looks just as exuberant in the afternoon practice. When the first-team defense isn’t on the field, he goes head-to-head with Tyson Jackson in an arm-swinging showdown that refines his pass rush technique. When the bullhorn sounds and players switch drills, Hail hunts the equipment managers down from behind like he would with opposing quarterbacks, stripping the balls they carry to each new station. And when the final practice whistle blows, he doesn’t walk to the locker room – he sprints.
Having two tight ends in the same lineup can cause problems for an opposing defense. So the Chiefs moved quickly to sign Boss after he was released by Oakland.
“It was a big priority, as it turned out,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. “Boss becoming available was a surprise, and I think he will be very beneficial to us. Tony coming back is good, and so having that combination can pose a lot of problems for a defense.
“From a defensive standpoint … you have to decide, do you want to play your regular defense versus those guys, or do you want to play your (passing) defense (with extra defensive backs) versus that group? If you put your regular defense out there, they’ll probably throw it a little bit more. If you put your sub out there, they’ll probably run it a little bit more. That’s the dilemma that you face.”
“He’s dramatically improved because we’ve been able to spend so much time together between all the OTA’s, the minicamp and now,” Zorn said. “I really feel that he is further along than he was last year. He’s really taking charge. He’s working on things that he wasn’t working on last year at this time.
“I think the offseason really helped us work on advance concepts and more aggressive plays on the line of scrimmage, such as changing plays and changing protection. It’s really going to make a difference.”
That may already be the case with Bowe, with numerous reports out of Kansas City stating that 2011 first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin has blossomed as a featured performer in new coordinator Brian Daboll’s offense — a system that Bowe hasn’t taken a single rep in after skipping all of OTA’s and minicamp in protest of his contract status. And since he’s no longer able to negotiate a long-term pact this season as a designated franchise player, the 2013 impending free agent’s already slipping leverage has lessened further.
That makes Bowe’s decision not to report somewhere between incredibly perilous and downright stupid. Though there’s no chance he’ll forfeit a $9.5 million salary by having his holdout linger into the regular season, missing valuable practice time in a different offense is a very real threat to his production in an all-important contract year, especially for a player who’s carrying some issues about desire and commitment.
It’s hard to envision Cassel ever becoming an elite quarterback, but easy to see him running a successful offense led by a powerful ground game. The Chiefs have Jamaal Charles back after his knee injury and they signed Peyton Hillis, which should give them the rushing attack that they weren’t able to produce after Charles’ injury last season. There’s also been a lot of talk about using tight ends Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki quite a bit, which should give Cassel steady, low-risk options to use in the passing game.
Cassel should be in a position to succeed, in other words. If Zorn’s right, it will be a good year for the Chiefs offense.