Heartland Health Practice Report: Tuesday - #7

Posted Aug 3, 2010

The head index eclipsed the century mark on Tuesday in St. Joseph

The weather didn’t do the Chiefs any favors on Tuesday (or maybe it did, depending on which side of the fence you sit). Following the club’s second set of two-a-days, players got in a strength work during the AM before heading outside for a two-hour practice smack during the heat of the day. The heat index in St. Joe eclipsed triple digits while practice was being held.

“You just have to grin and bear it,” DT Derek Lokey said. “You have to do a lot to recover also. The training staff has done a lot to help us recover with trips to the cold tubs and a lot of hydration. Mentally, you’re going to have to do it whether you want to or not, so you might as well want to.”

Practice Inactives

G Brian Waters

OLB Pierre Walters

S Jarrad Page

After a one day absence, DB Maurice Leggett was back on the field for the Chiefs on Tuesday. He appeared to have been a full participant in practice. Waters and Walters were both working out on the bikes again and Page continues to remain absent from camp.

Chiefs Swap RFAs

Rookie free agent OL Andrew Lewis was waived on Tuesday morning to make way for LB John Russell. Russell, who is listed at 280 pounds, generated a few fan inquiries as to whether there was a typo on the Chiefs press release regarding his position (If you remember, the Chiefs like their OLBs bigger).

Russell played defensive end and defensive tackle while at Wake Forest, but worked out for NFL teams as a defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, tight end and fullback during pre-draft workouts. This is obviously a player that has some positional versatility. His playing weight at Wake was 265 pounds, but he bulked up past 280 pounds just prior to the scouting combine.

Originally signed by the Green Bay Packers on April 30th, Russell aimed to cut his weight in order to play in the 3-4 as an outside linebacker. He had gained the excess weight prior to the draft with the anticipation that teams were looking at him as a defensive end. There’s a good story about Russell from Tim Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here. Russell was released by the Packers on July 30th.

For the Chiefs, Russell worked with the outside linebackers in his practice debut and wore jersey #98. With Walters on the bikes the past few practices, the Chiefs had been a man down at the position.

“We keep a short list and a long list and we’re constantly updating it, constantly looking at it, we’re constantly talking about it and when guys become available or names pop up or we have a particular need or there’s an injury, we’ve just got to be prepared to pull the trigger and you know those guys are given the opportunity to come in here and we’ll see what they’ve got,” Haley said.

*A small note Lewis’ departure: This spring, Lewis worked with QB Tyler Palko a few times at center. It was the first time that I’d ever seen a left-handed center snap to a left-handed quarterback.


For most fans, the only time that they’ve seen a Porta-John used on a football field was during the infamous Saturday Night Live skit featuring Colts QB Peyton Manning. In St. Joseph today, over a thousand people were added to that list.

The Chiefs running backs found a way to utilize the Porta-John in the corner of the practice field with receiving drills. Try to picture this…

1)      Running back #1 sits inside Porta-John; door closes

2)      Running back #2 mans  door handle; Assoc. head coach Maurice Carton readies to throw football

3)      Carthon stands 10 yards away from Porta-John and instructs RB#2 to open door

4)      Door opens; Carthon fires pass to seated RB#1

5)      Catch and rotate

Let’s start by putting it out there that Carthon has a ridiculously strong arm. His passes would have taken plenty of concentration to hang on to even if there wasn’t a door blocking the view. The drill worked on quick reaction, focus and soft hands. It was also incredibly amusing for fans to watch.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, a few of the footballs weren’t caught. And yes, they rolled around on the Porta-John floor.

Quarterbacks Getting In Work

Chiefs fans visiting training camp in River Falls over the past decade have became accustomed to seeing a veteran quarterback take a day off. With players like Trent Green and Damon Huard under center, the Chiefs would give their throwers extra rest in order to keep their arms fresh throughout camp.

Such isn’t the case for the Chiefs and their cast of QBs in St. Joseph. All three of the Chiefs quarterbacks – Matt Cassel, Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko – are aged 28 or younger.

“We defiantly have to monitor and take feedback and take all the precautions necessary to take care of these guys, but one of the factors is you know with these guys we do have a bunch of young guys,” Haley said. “You know we have three young guys, not that there is anything against older guys, like Kurt Warner, but yeah we are taking feedback all the time and watching and we are counting reps and all the drills and we’re making sure we are monitoring where they are and how they are feeling.”

Practice Highlights

  • The Chiefs went into a competitive goal line segment at the end of practice. RB Thomas Jones showed stellar goal line instincts in the drill, powering in a TD carry from one-yard out. Jones has made a handful of impressive runs between the tackles this camp.
  • NT Shaun Smith smashed into RB Jackie Battle during the goal line period. The play was the kind of run-stuffing effort that Chiefs fans are hoping to see out of the nose tackle position.
  • Rookie free agent RB Tervaris Johnson caught a TD in the period and S Jon McGraw made a nice play defending against rookie TE Tony Moeaki.
  • The Chiefs practiced their no-huddle offense in the heat of the day – again, a great practice setting for working on the mental side of the game.
  • WR Chris Chambers hauled in a nice TD on a wheel route during team’s blitz period. Chambers has continually found the end zone this camp.
  • WR Jerheme Urban got past rookie S Kendrick Lewis to haul in a near-perfect toss from QB Brodie Croyle.
  • Special teams periods sometimes lull fans to sleep at practice sessions, but special teams coach Steve Hoffman ramped up the intensity during kickoff coverage drills. Returning kickoffs during the period were WR Dexter McCluster, CB Javier Arenas, WR Jeremy Horne and WR Quinten Lawrence.

*Please note that Wednesday’s morning session has been moved indoors and is closed to the public. However, Wednesday evening will provide a practice that you won’t want to miss as Spratt Stadium will host the Chief’s first night practice of training camp. “Voice of the Chiefs” Mitch Holthus will handle the in-practice PA.

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