Camp Notebook: Bring on the pads

Posted Jul 28, 2012

Chiefs Training Camp Notebook Presented by Heartland Health

St. Joseph – The Chiefs will wear full pads for the first time on Sunday. It’s also a day were Romeo Crennel will hold practice at 3:20 p.m. with temperatures expected to top 100 degrees.

Regardless, Crennel doesn’t plan to alter the practice schedule.

“It’s tougher in the afternoon,” Crennel said. “It’s hotter and they have to push themselves more. We have to be cognizant of the heat and how much work that they’re doing and things like that. I mentioned that we might have to start giving them more breaks, more time to take their helmets off and get some of that heat away from the bodies, but so far it’s been ideal weather, so we shouldn’t have to go through that yet.”

Despite increasing temperatures, players are welcoming the arrival of full-padded practices. Sunday will be the first time the Chiefs have held a padded practice since last December. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibited anything more than helmets-only sessions during the offseason program.

“The first day of pads is always exciting,” said offensive tackle Branden Albert. “Now the days after that I don’t know about so much, but the first one is always exciting.”

Missouri Western State University officials have added extra shaded seating for fans attending training camp practices. Sealed plastic water bottles are also allowed to be brought inside training camp grounds.

“You are not going to have these hot of days on the football field during games, so it’s going to make us mentally tough that when things get going hard we’ll keep pushing,” Albert said. “That’s the mentality that this football team needs to have.”

The Chiefs are scheduled for 3:20 p.m. practices throughout the majority of training camp with exceptions made for a night practice (7:15 p.m.) on July 31st and Family Fun Day (1:30 p.m.) on August 4th. Practices are subject to change, but Crennel doesn’t plan on making any last-minute switches.

“If it looks like it’s going to be an extended 110-temperature week, then we might flop it and go in the morning,” Crennel said. “But we’ve got a lot of guys that have schedules and make schedules and so you’ve got to give people a little heads up about the change – the fans particularly because they like to come out and watch and I wouldn’t want them coming in the afternoon and then we’ve practiced in the morning and then they’re perturbed more than they already may be.”

Houston Held Out, McCarthy Leaves Early

Outside linebacker Justin Houston was absent from Saturday’s practice after falling ill. He was present for the team’s morning walk-thru, but was kept from attending practice in the afternoon.

Working in Houston’s absence with the first-team defense was fifth-year pro Andy Studebaker. Former fifth-round draft picks Cameron Sheffield and Gabe Miller worked with the second unit behind Studebaker and Tamba Hali.

The Chiefs also suffered their first injury of training camp when reserve safety Kyle McCarthy was taken into the locker room midway through practice. Fans applauded McCarthy as he limped into the bed of a cart and drove away with trainers.

Romeo Crennel is expected to give an update on McCarthy’s status Sunday afternoon.

Also, defensive back Jacques Reeves was excused for personal reasons and rookie fullback Taylor Gentry stayed out of drills for a second straight day.

Stanzi’s Olympic Update

Backup quarterback Ricky Stanzi has a well-documented history of displaying his Patriotism in a public setting, so the media had a little Olympic fun with Stanzi following Saturday’s practice.

Here’s how Stanzi’s media session began…

Q: How about the red, white and blue in the Olympics?

STANZI: “It’s been tough to get to a TV. I haven’t seen anything, which is kind of nerve wracking, but I’m trying to keep up on my phone. It’s exciting, but obviously this is more important right now.”

Q: Favorite American athlete?

STANZI: “I like [Michael] Phelps, some of the lady athletes too, pretty talented.”

Things later turned more serious when Stanzi was asked about the ongoing battle between him and Brady Quinn for the primary backup job behind Matt Cassel.

“Right now we are taking the reps that we are given and that’s all we can do,” Stanzi said. “Whatever you have, you take, and you don’t worry about the ones you don’t get.”

Stanzi and Quinn have traded second-team reps to start training camp just as they did during the offseason program. Each appears to receive an equal allotment of snaps regardless of who is taking the second-team reps on that particular day.

“This year I have a much better feel of the playbook,” Stanzi said. “I actually got to look at it during the offseason and have the minicamp and OTAs. That was huge compared to last year when we stepped in to the fire and had to go.”

Take Five: Quick-Hitters from Saturday’s Practice

1) Ricky Stanzi and Terrance Copper paired for several impressive completions during team 11-on-11 work. The most noteworthy hookup came when Stanzi faced heavy pressure and hit Copper in stride deep down the right sideline.

2) The Stanzi-Copper connection caused the majority of fans to miss another great catch. Punter Dustin Colquitt caught a kickoff behind his back on the adjacent field seconds after Copper hauled in the deep pass from Stanzi.

3) The first turnover of camp appeared to occur when Dexter McCluster mishandled a bubble screen. The loose football was recovered behind the line of scrimmage by Cameron Sheffield, but it was difficult to decipher whether the attempt would be ruled a fumbled lateral or an incomplete forward pass.

4) Tight end Kevin Boss turned in a solid receiving day by hauling in three catches for chunk yardage during team 11-on-11 work.

5) “Sing me a tune…a winning tune…da da da da.” If you don’t know how Romeo Crennel begins Chiefs practices, watch this exclusive Mic’d Up video.

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