Camp Notebook: Eric Berry barely skips a beat

Posted Jul 30, 2012

Chiefs Training Camp Notebook Presented by Heartland Health

St. Joseph, Mo. – Eric Berry produced a head-turning first day in pads Sunday afternoon. Still, the Pro Bowl safety that missed most all of 2011 exited practice feeling unsatisfied.

Monday was a different story.

Berry was on the field for the good stuff this time around. Romeo Crennel had held Berry out of 11-on-11 work against the offense on Sunday. On Monday, it was full-go for all practice periods.

“Eric Berry threatened me, that if I didn’t let him go in and play some…,” Crennel joked.

So Crennel let Berry go in and play some on Monday. He did the same with Kendrick Lewis and Jamaal Charles, who were held out of Sunday’s team periods as well.

“Anytime you step on the field you want to actually be out there on the field,” Berry said. “I’m glad that I got out there (for 11-on-11 work) today. I got some of the rust knocked off and I’m looking forward to being out there again tomorrow.”

Whatever rust Berry kicked off couldn’t have been much. He was in lock-down mode during his return to full-padded work nearly 11 months since he last wore on shoulder pads and football pants.

On Sunday, Berry shut down Jonathan Baldwin - who’s otherwise turned in a standout camp - in one-on-one drills and then parlayed that performance by going juke-for-juke with Dexter McCluster in the open field.

Two receivers whose skills are polar opposites of one another were unable to best Berry in a drill where offensive players carry a distinct advantage. Berry looked about as close to Pro Bowl form as one could be following 10 months of knee rehabilitation.

“Dexter is such a quick guy and he’s smaller while Jonathan is a big receiver that is so strong and can jump,” Berry said. “I’ve just been putting in a lot of work this offseason in trying to make sure I’ve mastered my technique when I step back there on the field. I’m looking to maximize my craft and just get better.”

That was the most impressive part. After months and months of rehab Berry stepped in and shut down two vastly different NFL regulars like he never missed a day of work.

Maybe that’s what Crennel really wanted to see before Berry went full-go? Regardless, the 2010 Pro Bowler was quarterbacking Kansas City’s secondary during Monday’s scrimmage periods.

 “I just want to keep being consistent and building on top of that,” Berry said. “It doesn’t stop right there. That’s just one drill. I want to keep going farther and keep getting better and better.”

Edgar Jones Must Wait

Thin on numbers, but not on talent, the Chiefs outside linebackers welcomed a new face on Monday.

Edgar Jones, who spent the previous five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, signed an unrestricted free agent deal in the morning and joined the team for practice in the afternoon. Unfortunately, Jones was restricted to strength and conditioning work because of a three-day acclimation rule in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“It’s a challenge, but that’s what life is about,” Jones said of his required wait before joining padded practices. “Coming in here a couple of days after everyone started camp is a challenge for me, but then I also find out that I can’t practice for three days.

“So right now I’m really getting into my playbook and watching extra film. Even when I’m out on the field, even though I can’t get in I’m watching the reps on the sidelines and listening to the calls that they are getting. I’m listening and then going back to my playbook even more.”

Jones’ addition gives the Chiefs six outside linebackers and another core special teams candidate. Kansas City was down to just four outside linebackers on Sunday while Justin Houston battled a stomach illness.

“My whole career has been about special teams and everyone has to find what it is that they can do to stay in the league and I’ve found what it is for me. That’s being on special teams,” Jones said. “I’m coming here to help out how I can – special teams, defense or even offense if my name is called.”

Defensively, Jones joins the competition for roster spots behind Houston and Tamba Hali. He’ll mix into the reserve ranks with Andy Studebaker, Cameron Sheffield and Gabe Miller.

Take Five: Quick-Hitters from Monday’s Practice

1) Jonathan Baldwin and Matt Cassel put on a show for some 3,000 fans on Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day. The duo seems to have established quite a connection while training together this offseason and have carried over that rapport into the early stages training camp. Cassel hit Baldwin on two more deep balls Monday with the second drawing a loud ovation as Baldwin beat cornerback Stanford Routt to the end zone.

2) As a group, the running backs delivered a standout practice. Leading the pack was Shaun Draughn, who found the open field several times with long runs and receptions out of the backfield.

3) Brandon Flowers recorded his second interception in as many days when Brady Quinn led rookie tight end Tim Biere too far across the middle. Flowers re-routed his path and raced down the left sideline where many fans were watching practice.

4) Rookie wide receiver Junior Hemingway left practice early. It was unclear if he suffered an injury or was overheated. Several players exited on Sunday due to excessive heat, but each returned to practice on Monday.

5) Missing practice were fullback Taylor Gentry (undisclosed ), defensive back Jacques Reeves (personal), linebacker Brandon Siler (ankle),  and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (contract).

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