Tuesday Off-Day Notebook

Posted Aug 2, 2011

This and that on the players' day off

ST. JOSEPH, MO – A day off…on the fifth day of training camp? This was not the result of Todd Haley throwing his players a bone after four days of practice. Tuesday’s off day was mandated by verbiage in the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

A day like Tuesday is the latest in a string of unprecedented rules for NFL training camps. A number of teams across the league spent the day away from football today. For the 24-hour period, players are prohibited from participating in any type of football activity while coaches are present. This includes film review, study sessions, lifts, runs and, of course, practicing.

The only sanctioned activity is medical treatment for injured players.

The Chiefs will be back on the practice field Wednesday for a 9:45 AM walkthrough followed by a night practice inside Spratt Stadium at 7:15 PM.

Tuesday’s timeout is a good time to get caught up on a few nuts and bolts that have crossed my mind in the early goings of Chiefs training camp.

Bracing for heated competition at reserve WR

All of a sudden, the Chiefs wide receiver ranks look crowded. It’s safe to slot three roster spaces for Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin, but who fills in behind those players? How many roster slots are the Chiefs willing to keep at receiver? Five were kept coming out of camp last season and the Chiefs dressed four on Opening Day.

A number of players with previous roster experience are competing for those final positions.

Jerheme Urban looked primed for a roster spot last season before suffering a season-ending hand injury in the final preseason game. He’s back and currently working with the first-team offense.

Then there is Terrance Copper, who the Chiefs re-signed as an unrestricted free agent, and Verran Tucker, whose in-season progression impressed throughout 2010. Both Copper and Tucker are valuable special teams contributors as well.

Don’t forget Jeremy Horne, who was a training camp standout last preseason and began the year on Kansas City’s 53-man roster.

That’s seven wide receivers right there, not including Dexter McCluster. Based on the early stages of camp, I’d classify McCluster as a running back, but you can bet he’ll bounce around much like last season.

Reps will soon be at a premium for Chiefs wide outs.

Looking ahead

We’re 10 days away from the Chiefs first preseason game and I’m beginning to wonder what approach Haley will take with his lineup for 2011’s opening contest. Haley has chosen to ease the team into football activity thus far, taking small steps towards adding contact to practice sessions.

It appears the Chiefs are close to holding their first full-padded practice, but what about the 15-some veterans who’ve yet to step on the field? Will Haley hold them back while the rest of the team pushes forward? Will they go in shorts while everyone else dons full pads?

Pushing further, will players like Casey Wiegmann, Steve Breaston and Kelly Gregg be ready to make a Game One appearance after what will be just one week of on-field work? Really, less than a week if you count this Sunday’s day off and the light walkthrough practice that occurs the day before kickoff.

If Kansas City’s inactive veterans aren’t ready to go next Friday night, will Haley choose to sit some of his key veterans or allow them to push forward alongside a number of reserves in the starting lineup?

I’m wondering if the first preseason game will be treated more like the fourth.

79 and counting

The Chiefs roster count now sits at 79 players, leaving room for 11 additions before reaching camp’s 90-man limit. That total doesn’t take into account unsigned restricted free agent Brandon Carr, but does factor in franchise player Tamba Hali and third-round draft pick Justin Houston.

Signing continues to occur throughout the league and the Chiefs are no exception. At no point has Chiefs brass indicated they’ll hit the 90-man roster limit, but it appears Kansas City is still in acquisition mode. Expect signings to continue throughout the week.

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