Insider Blog: OTA Report #10

Posted Jun 7, 2010

A pair of rookies invade the safety position, TE Tony Moeaki returns and Travis Daniels keeps picking off passes

It was back to the practice field for the Chiefs on Monday for the beginning of a big week. OTA number 10 was held this morning, starting a final grind of eight practices over the next seven days. The Chiefs annual mini-camp will begin with two practices on Friday.

Without further adieu, let’s go to the practice field…

Remarkable Run

A streak of nine in a row may not seem like a monumental streak for most, but in the world of the NFL’s voluntary workouts the number carries significant measure. That’s how many practices the Chiefs have had perfect attendance from those under contract. Up until today, Jarrad Page had been the lone player on the roster to miss workouts as his restricted free agent tender offer remains unsigned.

Veteran safety DaJuan Morgan was missing in action this morning, although his absence sounded as if it were expected. Head coach Todd Haley indicated that Morgan missed today’s workout due to personal reasons.

The Chiefs are back out on the practice field on Tuesday morning.

Players Held Out of Practice (Rehab/Conditioning Zone)

WR Quinten Lawrence

WR Lance Long

CB Brandon Flowers

RB Jamaal Charles

TE Brad Cottam

WR David Grimes

*QB Brodie Croyle

*Was not in the rehab zone, but did not participate in team drills

The injury list was decreased by one today with the return of rookie TE Tony Moeaki (more on him below). The rest of the rehab list consisted of players who have appeared on the list for several weeks. Lawrence, Long, Flowers, Charles and Cottam have yet to take any practice reps throughout OTA work.

Tyler Palko continues to run with the second team in Croyle’s absence.

Moeaki Limited in Return

Haley indicated that Moeaki’s injury was nothing serious when the Chiefs third-round pick found his way into the rehab zone at the start of OTAs. Since then, Moeaki continued to work on the sidelines and today he re-confirmed that he’s not injured. Whatever has kept him out, whether it is illness, conditioning or a small tweak, the Chiefs rookie found his way onto the field for the first time since the veterans merged with rookies for OTA work.

Moeaki participated in full with his teammates right up until the team portion of practice. When the offense squared off against the defense, Moeaki took only mental repetitions. He indicated in the locker room following today’s practice that he hopes to be fully involved in practice by the time mini-camp rolls around on Friday.

His head coach was happy to see him return as well.

“I think it’s good for him,” Haley said. “What’s that saying about tub and club and making something (you can’t make the club in the tub), this guy’s got to be out there and I know it’s good for him to get out there and start doing things, which should pick up here as we go forward.”

Two Rookies Back Deep

Playing safety in the NFL is a big job. It is one of communication, which is directly related to overall knowledge of the playbook. On Monday morning, the Chiefs coaching staff turned over the back-line duties to a pair of rookies with the first team. Fifth-round pick Kendrick Lewis paired with fifth-overall pick Eric Berry to run the safety positions of the first-team defense today.

Working with the ones is nothing new for Berry, who has been running with the first team for over a week now. But for Lewis, the “promotion” was a first for OTAs. He responded by intercepting QB Tyler Palko for a pick-six late in practice.

“It was a play-action play where they were trying to flood the zone and I was in the deep post,” Lewis said of the INT. “It was my deepest threat and I just jumped the play and was able to make a big play off of it.”

Although he noted that it is just a June practice session, Haley is pleased with the progression of his young players.

“I am excited about this Kendrick Lewis and making him a Chief,” Haley said. “There is something about this young group, they haven’t been wide-eyed. They have a long way to go don’t get me wrong and none of these guys you can anoint but they have a confidence about them that I am sure will be shaken and rattled at different times and we will have to see how they respond.”

McCluster Shows Versatility with Ones

We know that rookie Dexter McCluster is going to serve a number of offensive roles for the Chiefs this season. Today, he lined up as both a running back and wide receiver with the first-team offense. Mixing and matching McCluster’s alignment without changing personnel groupings can become a real advantage for the Chiefs offense. Once Jamaal Charles returns to practice, personnel groupings and alignments could get even more interesting.

McCluster, Charles and Thomas Jones all on the field at the same time? We’ll see.

Daniels (pictured, upper right) Staking Claim

It’s a shame that stats aren’t kept during off-season practices. If they were, veteran DB Travis Daniels would be getting a lot more notoriety. It’s almost as if every practice Daniels is logging an INT, sometimes in multiples.

With NFL experience at both safety and cornerback, Daniels is yet another versatile defensive back looking to secure a roster spot among a total of 15 DBs currently rostered. A six-year veteran, Daniels failed to make the Chiefs opening day roster out of training camp last year, but was later brought back at mid-season and served the nickel role for a handful games.

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