Chiefs head coach Todd Haley reeled everything back a notch on Wednesday in St. Joseph; for half a day, at least.
After logging a string of seven practices over a five-day period, capped with an afternoon practice smack in the middle of the hottest day this year, Haley figured it was time to pull back the reins a bit. Instead of an outdoor morning practice, Haley instead moved the team indoors for a walk-thru session.
“I just thought after seven real good practices and real good workouts, it was the thing to do,” Haley said. “Especially in light of tonight’s practice which we’ll go ahead and go full pads and get a chance to work under the lights.”
Once the night practice rolled around, the atmosphere couldn’t have been any better and the Chiefs took it up a notch (think high school rivalry on a perfect late September night). Missouri Western officials estimated that a crowd of about 8,000 showed up for the event.
“Walking out for practice, Eric (Berry) and I were talking, it reminded me of a high school game,” rookie S
Jones joined the list of practice inactives on Wednesday night, participating in pre-practice drills, but heading over to the bike area with Waters once the night session officially begun. OLB
Passing Game In-Sync
The Chiefs passing game turned in what appeared to be, overall, one of its best sessions of camp under the Wednesday Night lights. The wide receivers put on a show in one-on-one drills vs. the defensive backs, churning out plenty of big-play scores.
After the practice session concluded, both sides of the football indicated that there would be plenty of victories for each group over the course of camp. Players from both position groups also noted that there is plenty of room for growth throughout the rest of camp.
“We’re not where we want to be,” CB Brandon Carr said after practice. “But that’s what training camp is for. It’s about everybody gaining chemistry, learning about what’s going and trying to perfect technique, refine your tools and bring out your ability.”
Voice of the Fan: Lewis & McCluster Stand Out
With so many Chiefs fans in attendance on Wednesday night, I wanted to get your input. Following practice I conducted a poll among 20 random fans from various points lined around the Spratt Stadium track as players signed autographs. Two questions were asked…
1) Who did you think had the best night on offense?
2) Who did you think had the best night on defense?
Here’s how the votes came out…
Offense: Dexter McCluster (18);
McCluster, who dropped a screen pass on one of his first looks of the night, turned things around immediately and put on a show for the fans at Spratt. McCluster lined up all over the field and drew ovations following rushes, receptions and returns. His 60-yard TD catch from QB Matt Cassel may have been the highlight of the night, but he also found the end zone on a 45-yard fly in one-on-one drills vs. the DBs and made a brilliant cutback for 25 yards off a zone read at running back.
Lewis had three nice pass breakups on the night, with two of them coming during Red Zone work. On all three plays, Lewis had to make a sharp break on the football and battle a receiver for the rights to the football.
“I love to come out and compete,” Lewis said. “Anytime that I get a chance to come out and showcase my talent; it’s great. It was a time where coach wanted to see how guys would perform under the lights and I just did my best.”
Scrimmage Closes Out Night
The Chiefs conducted a situational scrimmage to close out practice, pitting the offense and defense against one another in a first-and-goal situation from the 10 yard-line. The offense capped off a nice night by sweeping the period 3-0. Here’s the play-by-play…
First-Team Offense vs. First-Team Defense
1st and goal from the 10 –QB Matt Cassel fires a flare to WR Dwayne Bowe in the left flat, Bowe makes one quick cut inside, a DB misses and the wide receiver jogs in for a TD
Second-Team Offense vs. Second-Team Defense
1st and goal from the 10 - RB
2nd and goal from the 5 -- Battle powers up the middle for 4 yards
3rd and goal from the 1 – Battle up and over the pile for a TD
Third-Team Offense vs. Third-Team Defense
2nd and goal from the 9 – QB
3rd and goal from the 9 – Palko pressured, buys time and steps up in pocket; sprints for score, outracing defenders to front right pylon
- On Horne’s long TD snag in one-on-one work, he shifted into a noticeably higher gear to run under the football. Not more than a minute later, he was working as a gunner during special teams period.
- Croyle showed off his powerful throwing arm, rocketing a mid-level pass to rookie TE
Tony Moeakibetween two defenders. The most impressive part of the play was Moeaki’s ability to hold on to the football as defenders made early contact and drew multiple flags (in hoops, we’d say “and 1”).
- With Jones out, RB Kestahn Moore received the first crack at second-team carries behind Jamaal Charles. As the night went on, a numbers of other runners joined the rotation.
- OLB Mike Vrabel laid a nice pop on Moore from the inside linebacker position out of the Chiefs nickel package. Moore coughed up the football, but the offense maintained possession.
- The outside linebackers seemed to be in the backfield throughout the night, appropriately timing and disguising stunts. Andy Studebaker and
Cameron Sheffieldboth logged would-be sacks.
Leonard Popeused his 6’8 frame to his advantage when he easily out-hopped smaller defensive backs to bring down a high pass from Croyle.
One practice is on the slate for Thursday and is set for 1:50 PM.