Arrowhead Report: Thursday, Sept. 9th

Posted Sep 9, 2010

News and notes from Thursday at Arrowhead

Kansas City didn’t exactly feel tropical on Thursday, but the remnants of tropical storm Hermine made its way into the metropolitan area by mid-day. Though the storm forced more than 100 high-water rescues in Texas and some severe weather in Oklahoma, the Chiefs were able to begin their Thursday practice outdoors and free from rain.

On the field, right tackle Ryan O’Callaghan returned to the bike area after appearing in pads for the first time in over two weeks yesterday. OLB Cameron Sheffield also did not participate in practice.

UPDATE: The Chiefs have listed O'Callaghan as a limited participant (groin) in Thursday's injury report. The team is required to designate the game status of each player placed on the injury report before 4:00 PM on Saturday.

Crayton Ready to Play

Expect to see WR Patrick Crayton (pictured) on Monday night. During his conference call with the Kansas City media, Chargers QB Philip Rivers indicated that he expects the recently acquired Crayton to factor into San Diego’s game plan against the Chiefs.

“He got here Saturday about 11 o’clock and we were out there throwing about noon,” Rivers said. “On Sunday and Monday we practiced and he was rolling in there as he would if he had been here for all of camp and I would imagine and expect him to contribute on Monday night.”

Crayton, a former Cowboys receiver with ties to Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, was traded to the Chargers for a conditional draft pick (sixth or seventh round) last Friday. He was one of the Cowboys’ more dependable receivers in recent years, averaging nearly 40 catches a season since 2004. Crayton provides the Chargers with depth at the wide receiver position while All-Pro WR Vincent Jackson remains away from the team.

Back to Football Bash

Due to expected weather in the area, this evening’s Back to Football Bash has been moved indoors to the North Club inside The New Arrowhead. The free event begins at 5:00 PM and will feature player autograph opportunities, entertainment and visits from Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt and GM Scott Pioli.

Arenas Loses Nine Digits

Chiefs rookie return man and nickel cornerback Javier Arenas is changing his jersey number for the 2010 regular season. Arenas had been wearing #30 since his arrival in Kansas City, but will now claim #21 as his own going forward.

Arenas wore #28 while at Alabama, but that number is retired in Kansas City to honor RB Abner Haynes. The last player to wear #21 for the Chiefs was RB Kolby Smith.

Carr Settles In

When Chiefs Training Camp opened, third-year CB Brandon Carr was an example of a player simply trying to do too much.

Carr’s first week in St. Joseph was one that he’s like to forget. He was getting beat by Chiefs receivers, both rookie and veteran, in one-on-one and team drills far too often and it was easy to observe that the player was shaken on the practice field. It became painful enough for Carr to tweet about the struggles to his fans a few days into camp.

But as training camp waged onward, Carr eventually settled in and looked more like the player who has started 32 consecutive games for the Chiefs at cornerback. The pass breakups returned to Carr’s game and he looked like the young player that had his head coach praising the progress that he displayed during the Chiefs off-season program.

Carr’s status as a starter never wavered and the stories that were written about his slow start became news of the past.

“I just got back to the basics,” Carr said. “I was trying to do too much and trying to make too many plays. Just going out there and playing fundamental football is what got me here. That’s what I had to get back to doing.”

Todd Haley has continually referred to the progression of second and third-year players as a vital component in Kansas City becoming a better football team for 2010. Maybe Carr was putting too much pressure on himself to prove his worth as an ascending player, or maybe he saw some of the national rumblings that listed him as one of the league’s top emerging cornerbacks. Maybe it was just a slow start.

 Whatever the case, Carr finished the preseason strong and appears to be back on track as the Chiefs prepare to open their season.

“I was just trying to challenge myself as a third-year player to grow and make plays,” Carr explained. “Now I learned that you have to do so within the defense and just stay focused out there.”

Though Vincent Jackson won’t be playing on Monday, Carr and teammate Brandon Flowers will still have their hands full with Phillip Rivers under center. With the national spotlight focused on Kansas City, Carr has already learned a few lessons to take into the game.

Talent Disparity

Todd Haley was very matter-of-fact this afternoon in his press conference.

“This team we’re playing on Monday, we’re not nearly as skilled as they are; it’s not close” Haley said. “That’s no disrespect to our guys, it’s just the way that it is.”

Haley was emphasizing a point during the middle of a discussion about finding ways to use his team’s most talented players on gameday; specifically at running back and inside linebacker.

Throughout the preseason, starting roles at inside linebacker and running back were obviously hot topics. While Derrick Johnson and Thomas Jones currently highlight the top of the Chiefs depth chart, Haley has downplayed the importance in labeling players as “starters.” His view is that the Chiefs need contribution from all players to be successful, and those two positions are perfect examples.

In the big picture, the Chiefs are very talented at both running back and strong-side inside linebacker. Both Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles will receive carries as the game plan dictates and the Chiefs will likely find ways to get both Johnson and Williams on the field for a significant amount of defensive snaps; particularly now that Williams has shown the ability to get after the quarterback as a rusher.

“When we do have multiple players at a position that can play and help you find a way to win, then you better use them,” Haley said. “That’s what my job as a head coach is to do.”

With the Chiefs offering the typical vanilla slate of offensive and defensive packages during the preseason, Monday’s game could yield a few surprises.

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