Camp Notebook: Turn out the lights

Posted Aug 16, 2012

Chiefs Training Camp Notebook Presented by Heartland Health

St. Joseph, Mo. - The dorms are emptied and the facilities are vacant. Another summer at Missouri Western State University has come and gone for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The team will head back to the University of Kansas Hospital Chiefs Training Facility for the remainder of the preseason. And when they get there, they'll look to build on the solid foundation laid by 24 days of practice in St. Joseph.

"We’ve laid a good foundation, and now we have to continue to build on that foundation as we go forward and work our way to the regular season," said Crennel during Thursday's press conference.  "We feel decent about where we are right now and what the players have been able to do."

The head coach should be particularly pleased with how quickly his offensive players have soaked in Brian Daboll's new playbook. At the conclusion of offseason workouts, Crennel said he wanted his players to leave training camp with a better understanding of the terminology used by their new coordinator.

That transition looks a little less rocky after the Chiefs' time spent at Missouri Western State University. The Chiefs offense looked strong in the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. And in the last two days of practice, Daboll's unit has routinely scored touchdowns in 11-on-11 drills.

The Chiefs defense has had its time in the spotlight, too. Crennel said earlier this week that his unit needed to play better, and the defense responded with an Eric Berry pick-six yesterday and a diving Jalil Brown interception today.

Both units will need to keep up that progress in order to show that they've taken away something from this year's camp.

"I think we'll find out when the regular season starts," said Crennel. "I think that's when you can legitimately say that we have arrived or that we haven't arrived once we start regular season games and see how we do."

The regular season will start soon enough. But as camp closes in St. Joseph, the Chiefs should be pleased with the progress they've made.

Crennel's (Red and) Gold Stars:

It's hard for players to sustain a high level of intensity with the end of camp this close. So when reserve linebacker Cory Greenwood made an extra effort to crash the edge during yesterday's goal-line tackling drill, he earned a pat on the helmet from his head coach.

Crennel named that play as one of camps' best, singling it out that to his players during last nights' meetings.

"He could have stood back and watched when Abram Elam had the back in his grasp, and if he had stood back and watched, it would have been a touchdown," said Crennel. "But he had a good-effort play and finished off the tackle to keep the guy out of the end zone. That was a good play and something that you can point out and teach about."

Greenwood isn't the only player Crennel commended. The head coach named Dexter McCluster for a jack-of-all-trades camp performance yesterday, saying that the running back has transitioned smoothly to multiple new responsibilities in a new offensive system.

"Dexter has done a nice job in the roles that we've put him in," said Crennel. "It's not an overall surprise, but he's been good at what we've asked him to do. There were some questions about asking him to do too much and where we are going to play him, and he's handled it nicely. I think he will help us out quite a bit."

Other players will help McCluster and Greenwood as the Chiefs try to notch their second preseason win this Saturday. And if they step up against the Rams, they'll surely stand out on tape to Crennel.

Take Five: Quick Hitters from Thursday's Practice:

1) Crennel ruled several injured players out for the St. Louis game on Saturday, including Brandon Flowers (heel). Cyrus Gray (hamstring), Ethan Johnson (head/chin), Cameron Sheffield (groin), and De'Quan Menzie (hip) were also ruled out.

Players who missed practice that were not ruled out: Travis Daniels (groin), Junior Hemingway (groin). Dwayne Bowe (contract) did not practice either.

2) An impressive deep ball by quarterback Alex Tanney on what could’ve been his first rep in 11-on-11 drills this summer. The undrafted rookie dropped back, looked left, and lofted a pass up to Brandon Kinnie for a 45-yard completion.

3) Jonathan Baldwin didn’t disappoint in his last day in St. Joseph. In 7-on-7 drills, quarterback Matt Cassel hit Baldwin for a back-shoulder fade on the sideline that elicited some cheers from the crowd. And in 11-on-11 drills, Baldwin went to his patented end zone move: He outdueled Mikail Baker this time, leaping over the defensive back and plucking another Cassel touchdown pass.

4) Eric Berry was kicking himself after dropping an interception. He jumped the route for what would’ve been his second pick in that many days, but it dropped to the turf after hitting his hands. He was visibly upset with himself, but a few plays later, Berry was one of the first Chiefs players to congratulate Jalil Brown for coming down with an interception of his own.

5) Some fans were fired up by the comments made by former Chiefs right tackle Barry Richardson, who will suit up against his former team this Saturday. The Rams right tackle said he was looking forward to cut blocking Tamba Hali, one of his closest friends during their time together on the team. The comment was made in jest, and Tamba diffused any tension between the two after today’s practice:

“Barry’s a good friend, and I’m sure he’s just kicking back and wanted to be funny,” said Hali. “I don’t feed into that. It’s all love over here”

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