Insider Blog: OTA Report

Posted Jun 1, 2010

The Chiefs began a slate of 12 practices over 14 days on Tuesday

The final grind is upon us. Kansas City will conduct 12 practice sessions over a 14 day period, mocking a schedule as close to that of training camp without it actually being training camp. The first of those 12 practices began on Tuesday with OTA #7 (In total, Kansas City will hold 14 OTA sessions and five mini-camp practices).

“The whole idea of the OTAs is to go through the training camp installation (of offense and defense) as best we can,” head coach Todd Haley said. “When we get to the mini-camp, we get through it again. That will give them a second time through and then when we get to training camp, we will do it again.”

Players Held Out of Practice (Rehab/Conditioning Zone)

WR Quinten Lawrence

WR Lance Long

CB Brandon Flowers

RB Jamaal Charles

TE Tony Moeaki

TE Brad Cottam

WR David Grimes

*QB Brodie Croyle

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

The cast of rehab zone players has remained the same for the majority of OTA practices. Each player who hasn’t been participating in practice sessions looks to either have a minor ding or is being held out for precautionary reasons.

The lone addition to today’s list was backup QB Brodie Croyle. Croyle left practice early last Thursday after he delivered a TD pass to a crossing Jerheme Urban in the back of the end zone. On that same play, Croyle’s finger hit a defender’s helmet on the follow-thru.

As noted, Croyle was held out of practice, but was not in the rehab zone today. Unlike the names listed above, he did run through some individual drills, but did not practice with a helmet and was kept away from all team periods against the defense.

Once again, 85 of the 86 players on the roster were present and accounted for. The lone player missing from the facility was S Jarrad Page.

DJ Goes with the Ones

After each and every practice, people seem to want to know the status of Derrick Johnson. For the first time during OTAs, DJ “started” with the first team during today's team periods. He had repped with the first team in several other practices, but Corey Mays and Demorrio Williams had begun the majority of team periods together.

Today’s switch was a package deal, as LB Jovan Belcher joined Johnson with the first team as well. The two have been paired together in most instances dating back to nickel packages a year ago. Williams and Mays continued to work together on the first team.

As has been the common theme throughout OTA work, head coach Todd Haley seems to be mixing and matching personnel with the first team from practice to practice. Still, Johnson drew his first “start” of the spring (at least in one of the open practices).

How did he respond?

Johnson picked QB Matt Cassel on a very athletic play in coverage on the third snap of seven-on-seven work. The break on the football mirrored the flashes of athleticism that Johnson has displayed when he’s been at his best.

Two RFAs Turn Heads

If you’re going to crown a MVP from today’s practice, then we’re going to have to talk about a co-crown for Tuesday. A pair of rookie free agents turned heads during the team period of practice, forcing those in attendance to pull out the pocket roster in order to confirm just who was wearing #89 and #8.

Jersey #89 is worn by TE Leroy Banks, while #8 belongs to WR Jeremy Horne. Both of them hauled in fantastic touchdown grabs.

Just a few snaps after selling out with a leap into the end zone, following a short route with long YAC (yards after catch), Horne delivered a diving TD catch on the left sideline for his second score of the day. Pair those two grabs with two Jerheme Urban TDs and the “Jeremy’s” owned the Red Zone for the offense on Monday.

Banks, meanwhile, hauled in the catch of the day with a fully extended grab over defenders on a jump ball near the back of the end zone. The play was very similar to the one that TE Tony Gonzalez hauled in against Denver in 2008. Haley had complimentary things to say about Banks following practice.

Sloppy Finish

Though there were some excellent plays on the field today and the competition looked spirited once again on both sides of the football, Monday’s finish left plenty of room for improvement. As a result, the coaching staff was definitely harping on the importance of paying attention to detail and doing the little things correctly.

The short slide to close the day started with a fumble by Dexter McCluster, which prompted bodies to dive across the ground for the loose football (a big no-no in non-padded practices). On the following play there were misalignments/penalties related to mental mistakes. It was the age-old example of letting one mistake compound into another.

The guys will want to finish stronger in OTA #8, particularly when conditioning directly follows the final team period of practice.

McCluster, by the way, seemed to get more reps at running back this morning.

That’s all from OTA #7. The Chiefs will head back out for OTA #8 tomorrow.

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