Heartland Health Practice Report: Sunday

Posted Aug 15, 2010

Back to work in St. Joe!

An impressive crowd of over 3,600 fans welcomed the Chiefs back to the grind of training camp in St. Joseph on Sunday afternoon. Kansas City is set conduct seven practices over the next five days to conclude the first-ever training camp at Missouri Western. The Chiefs will move back to their training facility in Kansas City following Saturday night’s game in Tampa.

After seeing his team in action for the first time of 2010, head coach Todd Haley walked away from Atlanta with a list of areas that needed improvement. On the short list were clock-management and finding solutions for the situational errors that led to missed scoring opportunities.

“We need to be a smart football team,” Haley said. “I don’t think we showed that in all areas nor did we do the things necessary to be a smart football that then cost us some points.”

Though the Chiefs had a camp-high seven players miss practice time in the rehab zone today, the rest of the team ran through a number of team drills to work on some of Friday’s problem areas. Blitz pick-up, perimeter play-action and Red Zone work were all points of emphasis Sunday afternoon.

Practice Inactives

G Jon Asamoah

G Darryl Harris

TE Jake O’Connell

*S Jon McGraw

TE Tony Moeaki

*RB Kestahn Moore

T Barry Richardson

S Jarrad Page

Harris, Moeaki and O’Connell all stayed home while the team traveled to Atlanta, so their status away from practice didn’t come as a surprise. Outside of Page, who still hasn’t signed his RFA tender, the rest of the faces missing practice time were new.

Richardson was the most public injury in Friday night’s game as he went down when a defender fell into the side of his knee during Tyler Palko’s fourth-quarter TD hop. Though he carried a noticeable limp, Richardson’s presence outdoors in the bike area has to be a positive sign. He had plenty of well-wishers in the crowd.

Asamoah obviously got nicked a bit in Atlanta since he’s practiced in full throughout camp, but he was outdoors working on the bikes today as well.  Harris was also outdoors, which is another positive sign.  Harris had not been seen on the practice field in any capacity for nearly a week since leaving practice with a leg injury earlier in camp.

*McGraw and Moore both went through individual work prior to joining the rehab zone during the team portions of practice. Rookie Kendrick Lewis ran with the first-team defense alongside Eric Berry in McGraw’s absence.

O-Line Hurting

With Asamoah, Harris and Richardson missing practice time, the Chiefs went to work with just 11 bodies on the offensive line. A generally small number as it is for this time of year, Kansas City currently only has four offensive tackles in uniform.

Here’s how the Chiefs rotated along the offensive front today…

1st team

LT – Branden Albert

LG – Brian Waters

C – Casey Wiegmann

RG – Ryan Lilja

RT – Ryan O’Callaghan

2nd team

LT – Tyler Eastman

LG – Ikechuku Ndukwe

C – Rudy Niswanger

RG – Dan Santucci

RT – Colin Brown

G/C Lemuel Jeanpierre was the 11th player in the rotation.

It’s somewhat interesting that even with low numbers at tackle, Ndukwe continues to rep solely as a guard. Ndukwe started the first three games of 2009 for the Chiefs at right tackle before O’Callaghan eventually took over the job.

Noticing Horne

Following Friday’s preseason opener, Haley specifically mentioned rookie free agent WR Jeremy Horne. Horne, who has gotten open for the deep ball multiple times in camp, was able to separate from Atlanta defenders twice in the second half, but overthrown footballs cost the Chiefs a chance for the big play.

Today, Horne got loose again…and the quarterback didn’t miss.

Brodie Croyle hit Horne in stride for a big gain down the left sideline on a nearly identical route as the two balls that fell incomplete on Friday night. Horne got a nice round of applause from the crowd and the attention of his head coach with the deep catch.

“This kid, he’s shown skill,” Haley said. “He can run, he can get off the line, but with him, like a lot of these guys, it’s going to be that other side of trying to become a talented football player.”

Shortly after brining in the big catch, Horne had a rookie moment. After catching yet another impressive football right at the first down marker, Horne retracted one-to-two yards as he prepared to make a move up field. In a game, that backwards step might have been the difference between moving the sticks and a fourth-and-short situation.

Keep an eye on the progression of #8.

“Gotta Get It”

The Chiefs went live today in a very competitive Red Zone drill. The concept of the drill mocked a late-game situation in which the offense had the ball on the opponent 10-yard line with only enough time to run one final play (the markers read 4th down also).

Here’s how the drill went…


(1st team offense vs. 1st team defense)

Offense/Defense tie 1-1

1)      Dexter McCluster gets past Javier Arenas and Matt Cassel finds him in the back left corner of the end zone for a TD. McCluster was lined up in the slot, while Arenas played man coverage from the nickel.

2)      Cassel looks for McCluster on a nearly identical play, except this time to the back right corner of the end zone. Arenas covered McCluster like a blanket on this try and the pass fell incomplete.


(2nd team offense vs. 2nd team defense)

Defense wins 2-0

1)      Tyler Palko looks for Cody Slate down the right seam, but under throws his target due to a rush. Slate never had time to turn around for the football.

2)      Palko overthrows Jerheme Urban on a corner route.


(1st team offense vs. 3rd team defense)

Offense wins 1-0

1)      Dwayne Bowe hauls in a nice TD grab in traffic down the right seam from Cassel.


(3rd team offense vs. 3rd team defense)

Conditioning on the line; Defense wins 1-0

1)      Palko looks to hit TE Leroy Banks in left corner of end zone, but pass falls incomplete; Donald Washington and Reshard Langford in coverage.

Other Notables

  • With both Moeaki and O’Connell out, rookie free agent TE Cody Slate took first-team reps when the offense used double tight end sets.
  • Andy Studebaker received reps with the first-team defense throughout practice.
  • Tampa Hali showed nice open field speed as he opened up his hips and covered Jamaal Charles on deep route down the seam.
  • Eric Berry made a good break on the football to hit Dexter McCluster as the ball arrived; the pass fell incomplete.
  • John Russell had a nice pass rush to get around the right edge for a sack.

The Chiefs will get back into the two-a-day schedule tomorrow with practices at 8:50 AM and 4:30 PM. The morning practices will be held indoors and is closed to the public. The outdoor practice will be open and moved up 90 minutes from its 6:00 PM start time.

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