Heartland Health Practice Report: Monday

Posted Aug 9, 2010

The defense continued its Saturday momentum in Monday's early session

The defense built off of their Saturday performance during the first practice back from break, keeping the offense in check for the majority of the morning. With a general lack of concentration at some periods during practice, head coach Todd Haley and his coaching staff made it clear that it was once again time to go to work. Monday’s two-a-day practices officially kick off the first game week of 2010.

“They’ve sat around for a day and hopefully took care of themselves,” Haley said. “But all of a sudden you’re throwing them back into the mix, and I wouldn’t say lethargic, but at times we had to push them a little more than we’ve had to push them.”

Only four practice sessions remain in St. Joseph before kickoff in Atlanta on Friday night.

Practice Inactives

TE Tony Moeaki

G Darryl Harris

S Jarrad Page

Moeaki sat out of Monday’s morning practice after getting dinged during Saturday’s scrimmage. His absence was the first missed practice for the rookie tight end since OTAs. Harris was not outside after leaving a practice last week with a leg injury and Page has yet to report to camp.

Pro Bowl left guard Brian Waters made his 2010 training camp debut, repping with the first-team throughout the practice session. Although Waters’ participation could be described as limited, he did participate in team drills.

“I’m trying to do what I can,” Waters said. “I haven’t been out there for a week and a half, so I didn’t’ want to go crazy, but I’m trying to get a little taste here and improve practice-by-practice.”

Despite the high heat index in St. Joseph, missing practice time was anything but a relief for the 11-year veteran.

“It’s one of the worst things to watch your teammates work hard and be tired,” Waters said. “You’re coming in there feeling like you haven’t put in an honest day’s work isn’t the best feeling, but it’s part of  the process and I’m trying to get back.”

Waters said that he “has no idea” whether or not he’ll play on Friday vs. Atlanta.

Debut of KOR

Special team coach Steve Hoffman has had time dedicated to his craft in nearly every practice of training camp to date. Though there hasn’t been a formal “special teams practice,” the Chiefs have gotten plenty of work on various blocking schemes and coverage techniques. What we hadn’t seen until today, however, was work on the kickoff return unit.

Notables from the session included rookies Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster fielding returns, as well as Jamaal Charles and several other candidates from 2009. Reliable special teamer Terrance Copper was paired with Arenas on the back line with the first grouping.

It will be interesting to see what role, if any, Charles plays in the return game this season. By far the most consistent and electric return man in 2009, Charles’ touches as a returner minimized once he took on a heavier role in the offensive game plan. With the additions of Arenas and McCluster, the Chiefs obviously have more options outside of Charles than they did a year ago.

On a side note, punter Dustin Colquitt served as a mock return man for part of the drill, which drew a few chuckles from some Colquitt supporters at camp.

Smith Shows Versatility

Veteran defensive tackle Shaun Smith has spent the majority of his time at training camp working on the fundamentals of the zero technique (aka nose tackle in the 3-4 defense). On Monday morning, Smith showed a bit of versatility and took reps at defensive end as well. Whether or not Smiths’ participation at defensive end was a one-day look or not remains to be seen, but his versatility could mean expanded options for the Chiefs defensive front.

Smith saw time at both defensive tackle and defensive end under Romeo Crennel in Cleveland.

Left Guard Cursed?

Brian Waters opened training camp on the inactive list; so did Ikechuku Ndukwe.

Darryl Harris left practice with an injury last week.

Today, newly signed OL Dan Santucci stayed on the ground after the whistle blew and trainers came to his aid.

Santucci marks the fourth left guard in just over a week of training camp to miss some sort of practice time. Some fans in St. Joseph were starting to mumble that the position could be cursed? That might be an over-statement, but left guard has been a revolving door of injuries in an otherwise relatively healthy training camp (knock on wood).

It should be noted that Santucci eventually walked to the sidelines under his own power. Since Santucci’s ailment didn’t occur until late in practice, we won’t have an idea of his status until this evening’s second session.

Sweet Victory

Today’s situational walk-thru featured the best formation in all of football; Victory! Hopefully the set will get plenty of use this season, starting with Friday night’s preseason opener in Atlanta.

Relentless Arenas

Rookie Javier Arenas seems to only know one speed: Full.

Arenas laid a pretty good thump on WR Quinten Lawrence during a non-takedown period. The shot to Lawrence’s back knocked a would-be reception to the ground and amped up the defense. On the offensive side of the football, the play looked less amusing.

Earlier this camp, Arenas was “flagged” for a late hit on TE Cody Slate and he’s been involved in a few other collisions as well. Arenas is seemingly always flying around at full-throttle, but its most definitely because of his will to compete in every portion of practice.

Here’s what Haley had to say about Arenas way back on April 24th; words have become very true this training camp.

“I think the guy is a heck of a competitor. Something that sticks in my head that was said by one of our scouts is he acts like it is the Super Bowl every day. And that is the way he plays. He stands out as somebody that is playing with a passion and competitiveness every single play. You hear people say it, but if you put that tape on of that kid and I think you would be pretty impressed with the intensity with which he plays every snap. For that reason, without the returner ability, we would be pretty excited about him.”

Plays of the Day

Offense – During team competitive, Thomas Jones was sprung on a counter play by a great block from right guard Ryan Lilja. The run gave the offense a first down and a victory for the set.

Defense – The defense was part of numerous plays that were frustrating for the offensive side of the football. CB Jackie Bates jumped in front of a Tyler Palko pass for a pick to continue to the defensive momentum.



Daniels Joins the Bikes

Veteran CB Travis Daniels joined TE Tony Moeaki on the bikes for the PM practice session. Daniels had practiced earlier in the day. Offensive lineman Dan Santucci, who appeared to suffer an injury at the back end of the first practice, was back on the field and participating in full this afternoon.

Carthon explains roots of Porta-John Drill

First off, if you aren’t aware of the Porta-John drill, then read here to catch up.

The Porta-John drill has become somewhat of an urban legend over on the Chiefs official Facebook page. A few fans apparently didn’t catch footage of the drill on Training Camp LIVE! (available in tonight’s episode, by the way)  and were questioning its legitimacy. Not only is it an actual drill, but it’s also pretty effective when seeing it in action.

Anyway, the man who conducts the drill (Chiefs Assistant Head Coach/RBs coach Maurice Carthon) gave us the origin of the circuit between practice sessions.

“My first year of coaching at the Patriots I learned that from Mike Pope,” Carthon said. “He really did a good job through all the years with the tight-ends he coached and I was wondering, asked him one day you know he had everything to sort of make his guys better. I thought that was a great drill and you think about it and you start doing it, I haven’t did it in a while but it’s a good concentration drill, I think, you know for hands, eyes, and getting the ball and getting your hands up quick.”

End-of-Game Situations

This afternoon’s competitive team period may have been the most exciting of camp (if it would have only been in full pads). Each of the two sessions featured a different setting to an end-of-game scenario and the competitiveness/banter was at a training camp high during both sets.

Here’s how they went down

Situation: Ball on Opp. 25; 25 seconds on clock; one timeout; need TD

Quarterback: Matt Cassel

1st and 10 from 25 (25 sec.): Pass to Charles out of backfield for 13 yards

1st and 10 from 12: Spike to stop clock @ 12 sec.

2nd and 10 from 12: Good defensive coverage forces throw away (6 sec .remain)

3rd and 10 from 12: Good coverage; jump ball to Leonard Pope in back of end zone; incomplete

Time Expires

Situation: Ball on own 40; 30 seconds on clock; one timeout; need FG

Quarterback: Tyler Palko

1st and 10 from 40 (30 sec.): Incomplete pass to Jerheme Urban (out route)

2nd and 10 from 40 (26 sec.): Pass complete to Urban (in-route) for nine yards

Timeout – 22 sec. remain

3rd and 1 from 49: Draw to Javarris Williams for one yard

1st and 10 from 50: Spike to stop clock at 11 sec.

2nd and 10 from 50: Palko flushed out of pocket and throws football away (Alex Magee in pursuit)

*3rd and 10 from 50: With four-seconds remaining and a FG needed, Haley calls off drill

*instead of finishing out the drill, Haley placed ball in FG range and went with a Mayday call (clock running with no timeouts; FG unit runs from sideline to try and beat clock). Ryan Succop hit a 37-yarder during the hurry-up environment.

Play of the Day (PM Edition)

Tight end Jake O’Connell has really put together a nice run in his ability to catch the football. Starting with his diving TD catch during Saturday’s scrimmage, O’Connell carried over that progress into Monday’s workouts. This afternoon, O’Connell ran a nice route to get past Eric Berry in one-on-one drills and also hauled in a TD grab in traffic during the 11 vs. 11 work.

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