Heartland Health Practice Report

Posted Jul 30, 2010

The Chiefs had to call an audible on the opening day of training camp, but were able to turn in a productive practice for the fans

And so it begins…

The first day of the St. Joseph era didn’t exactly go without a hitch, but the Chiefs were able to adjust their practice schedule to ensure that fans went home with their first taste of Chiefs football in 2010. Apparently Mother Nature didn’t get the memo of the St. Joseph’s debut as heavy rains unloaded on the area some 30-minutes prior to the scheduled start of practice. With things looking bleak, fans headed for cover and the Chiefs began their walk-thru indoors.

After the skies began to clear, head coach Todd Haley took his team outdoors for all scheduled team periods of practice. What would have previously been a wash-out in River Falls turned into a very productive practice that lasted nearly three hours. Even better, a crowd estimated in the upwards of 3,000 braved the rain and stayed for the delayed look at practice.

Practice Inactives

G Brian Waters

G/T Ikechuku Ndukwe

DT/DE Dion Gales

Of the three players who were held out of action, none missed considerable time this spring. Typically players held out of practice at the beginning of training camp fall into one of two categories...

1)      A failed conditioning test

2)      An injury

While the majority of players and coaches are remaining mum about who passed and failed the team conditioning test yesterday, we do know that Waters fits into the latter of the two categories listed above. The Chiefs All-Pro guard passed the test, which was something that he didn’t do in 2009.

“Brian passed the test in flying colors,” Haley confirmed. “He came back in shape and did a great job this entire off-season. I will say that he did a tremendous job.”

Haley, however, declined to comment on the extent of Waters’ injury.  

On the other side of things, four players who were held out of all off-season practices returned to the field on Friday…

RB Jamaal Charles

CB Brandon Flowers

WR Quinten Lawrence

WR Lance Long

Missing In Action

S Eric Berry

S Jarrad Page

Though there have been plenty of reports that Berry has agreed to a contract with the Chiefs, including a Tweet from Berry himself, the club has yet to confirm the signing. Typically the Chiefs will wait until a player has physically signed a contract before announcing the transition. With Berry not present at practice, that likely hasn’t happened…yet.


Page, as expected, missed the first day of camp as he continues his hold-out with an unsigned restricted free agent tender offer.

How They Lined Up

The “starting lineups” for 11 vs. 11 work was very similar to how the Chiefs began OTAs this spring. Expect to see plenty of movement in the early stages of camp. Once team periods went further into practice, different personnel groups were rotated throughout.


QB – Matt Cassel

RB – Thomas Jones

FB – Tim Castille

WR – Dwayne Bowe

WR – Chris Chambers

TE – Leonard Pope

LT – Branden Albert

LG – Darryl Harris (in place of Waters)

C – Rudy Niswanger

RG – Ryan Lilja

RT – Ryan O’Callaghan


DE – Tyson Jackson

NT – Ron Edwards

DE – Glenn Dorsey

OLB – Mike Vrabel

LB – Demorrio Williams

LB – Corey Mays

OLB – Tamba Hali

CB – Brandon Flowers

CB – Brandon Carr

S – Jon McGraw

S – Reshard Langford

Charlie on the PUP List

Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis surprised fans and media alike this afternoon by arriving to practice on a motorized scooter. As practice continued, Weis was able to leave the scooter with the help of a cane, but his movements were obviously limited as he wore a heavy brace on his left knee.

“Charlie had a last-minute something,” Haley said. “His knee went out at the 11th hour and it was as bad as timing that you could have for him, but he toughed it out and found a way to get through. I thought he did a heck of a job.”

The only thing different about Weis on Friday was his appearance. On the field, Weis was the same vocal coach who demands excellence on every snap.

“Coach Weis is going to make his presence felt even if he’s lying down on his back in sunglasses,” G Ryan Lilja said. “He wouldn’t be out here if he wasn’t able to do it.”

Focusing on Dexter

No matter how hard you try, it’s nearly impossible not to watch rookie WR Dexter McCluster go through practice. With his quickness and ability to turn in a big gain, you feel like you’re going to miss something if you turn your eye away from seven-on-seven or one-on-one drills. Once again, we learned something new about McCluster today.

As the wide receivers worked on downfield blocking, the smallest member of the group appeared to be one of the toughest. McCluster showed nice pop with his punch, solid leverage and an attitude that his head coach will certainly like if it translates to gamedays this fall.

With that said, it should be noted that McCluster was unable to hang on to a pass across the middle as former college teammate Kendrick Lewis closed in for huge hit. Luckily, Lewis eased up before contact. Regardless, the potential for a massive collision had the crowd on its feet in St. Joe.

McCluster also took some snaps as a wide out. Most anticipate his primary position to be in the slot.

D-Line Under the Scope

Much like Haley did a year ago with the Chiefs cast of wide receivers, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel did on Friday with the defensive lineman. Throughout the majority of both individual and one-on-one drills against the o-line, Crennel was quietly observing. It will be interesting to see if Crennel moves from position to position group over the course of camp or sticks with the d-line.

Coaching the defensive line this season is former NFL DE Anthony Pleasant. A 14-year veteran, Pleasant played in the exact system that is currently coaching for 12 seasons. He also spent time playing directly under Crennel.

Bowe Keeps Rolling

Fourth-year WR Dwayne Bowe wasn’t in the press for the right reasons this off-season, but on Friday he let his play on the field do the talking.

Bowe brought his A-Game to the first day of practices in St. Joe, hauling in several difficult catches. His most impressive included a diving catch on a well-covered out route and a mid-air adjustment for a first down over CB Brandon Flowers.

Really, outside of the first practice or two of OTAs, Bowe has been turning in extremely impressive, drop-free, practices. If he can keep this up in front of the large crowds in St. Joseph, Bowe’s play will quickly become the topic of conversation when discussing the wide receiver once again.

Play of the Day

Saving the best for last, WR Chris Chambers hauled in a perfectly thrown touchdown pass from QB Matt Cassel on a deep fly route in one of the final plays of practice. Chambers was able to get past CB Brandon Carr on the play.

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