Insider Blog: Rookie Weekend Wraps Up

Posted May 2, 2010

Kansas City's rookies complete four practices in three days

Four practices over a three-day period; this was just a taste of what life is about to be like in the NFL for Kansas City’s rookies.

“It’s been exciting,” fifth-round pick DB Kendrick Lewis said. “It’s been a wonderful feeling. I’m happy to be here with the Chiefs and happy to be able to help this organization.”

At the end of the day, there’s plenty for the Chiefs rookies to hang their hats on. They’ve learned about expectations in the weight room, training room, locker room and about any other room they might enter as a member of the Chiefs organization. But no matter how many small victories were achieved this weekend, these guys are certain to get good jolt once they mix with the veterans for OTAs (organized team activities) beginning May 17th.

“The young guys got through their first weekend with us,” Haley said. “I feel it was very, very productive in a lot of different areas.

“I feel like some of the other areas that we were able to spend some time with them were very productive, and then on-the-field, I thought was extremely productive and in the classrooms, I felt like they made progress through the weekend and now have some idea of what to expect for when they come back here and are really thrown into the fire with all the guys and we’ll be rolling.”

This year’s crop of rookies are now in a wait-mode; some will be waiting until their official NFL report date of May 16th, while others will simply be waiting on a call that invites them to the spring workouts. Todd Haley said on Sunday that he expects to sign at least a couple of the Chiefs tryout players from this weekend (there were eight players who fit into this category).

Regardless of which side of the fence each rookie currently sits, the next two weeks are among the most critical of the off-season. Staying active and being in shape will be crucial when these players return to turn up the dial another notch in spring practices.

Another big victory this weekend was the simple fact that nothing tragic happened. Each of Kansas City’s draft choices completed their initial on-field activities seemingly injury-free. Of the 33 players who took part in this weekend’s workouts, only DBs Eric Berry, Javier Arenas and WR Chandler Williams missed practice time.

There is no official word on Williams’ status. Both Berry and Arenas were removed from Saturday afternoon’s practice for pre-cautionary measures, but returned to work on Sunday and head coach Todd Haley seemed pleased with the overall health of his squad at the conclusion of camp. All injuries appear minor at the moment.

“(Berry and Arenas) had existing situations that we knew about that we just wanted to be smart with,” Haley explained. “Now, they were back today and were actively involved. It was more precautionary than anything else.

“These guys haven’t been in our off-season program so we don’t know exactly what all these guys have been doing, although we try to figure it out as best as we can,” Haley continued. “There are a lot of things going on, especially having this camp the weekend directly after the draft. Things moved along fast and without knowing exactly where they are, to take a chance, might not end up being what we want to do.”

It’s hard to learn a lot about a rookie class from just one weekend in shorts (at least on-field expectations anyway), but we did get some clues as to what the initial plans are for a few of the rookies.

For second-round pick WR Dexter McCluster, he’ll likely be used all over the field. He spent his weekend practicing at wide receiver, running back and kick/punt returner.

“We’re chomping at the bit too, as a staff and for instance, McCluster, we orientated him into multiple areas so it was important to us to see how he handled that – being in a different classroom, different meetings or different spots,” Haley said.

Haley went on to say that he feels the class as a whole improved as a whole on what was asked of them as the weekend went forward. On the flip side of that, McCluster didn’t feel overwhelmed about the many things asked of him this weekend.

“I’ll be able to handle it,” McCluster said of his workload. “Wherever Coach Haley needs me to be, that’s where I’m going to be.”

Third-round pick OL Jon Asamoah looks like he’ll keep that “OL” in front of his name, rather than just a single “G” or “C.” It looks like the Chiefs will get Asamoah acclimated to all there interior offensive line positions over the course of this spring/summer.

“They’ll get me ready, I know that,” Asamoah said of the Chiefs coaching staff preparing him to play center, in addition to guard.

As expected, Cameron Sheffield will make the switch from collegiate defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker and DB Javier Arenas took plenty of reps to prep him for a shot as Kansas City’s primary return man in 2010.

Overall, this was both an important and productive weekend for the rookie class, but it was more of a broad orientation than anything else. Footballs were tossed around, but these guys have only begun to crack the seal when it comes to what will expected of them this upcoming fall.

“I would say all indicators show that these guys are as advertised,” Haley said. “Again, we have a long way to go and they have a long way to go. That is really what we just tried to make them understand.”

A lot more will be learned once the vets enter the mix for on-field practices just over two weeks from now.

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