Saturday, July 26, 2008 - Morning practice, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Cliff Notes: Training Camp, Day 2 AM
Branden Albert looked pretty good this morning. He didn't let Tamba Hali get too close to the quarterback, and even knocked him down once. He has looked a little clumsy off the snap, but his athleticism allowed him to recover.
Damion McIntosh didn't yield a quarterback pressure, but is giving ground to over-sized defensive end Alfonso Boone and is also not really blowing anyone off the ball in the running game.
All-in-all, the starting offensive line looked pretty good against the first string defensive line, but the second-string offensive line was getting blown up by the backup defenders. I think it's definitely fair to say the defensive line is considerably deeper than its offensive counterpart. Defensive ends Brian Johnston and Trevor Johnson have looked pretty impressive for a couple of guys with low expectations. The undrafted rookie free agent pickup from Auburn, T.J. Jackson, has also shown signs of promise at the defensive tackle position.
All the changing of positions, switching of sides, and new faces on the offensive line this year have to be a concern for Chiefs fans, and center Rudy Niswanger didn't exactly play lights out this morning. He and Brodie looked pretty slow on the center-quarterback exchanges, and did have a fumbled snap today. That center-quarterback relationship is often overlooked, but important. It's still early, though, and things like fumbled snaps are a part of the reason training camp exists.
I know a lot of people who are keeping an eye on the Chiefs this preseason will have it fixed on Brodie Croyle. He has all the tools and can make all the throws, but his decision making skills are still under investigation. He looked pretty sharp on a couple throws, but also threw a terrible ball in Tony Gonzalez's direction that should have been intercepted by Donnie Edwards. Those kinds of mistakes can't be swept under the rug when trying to evaluate a young quarterback.
While questions about Brodie still linger, there is no question that Damon Huard is nearing the end of his career. He looked terrible this morning, as he has the entire offseason. He has no zip on his balls, his accuracy is shot, and he looks squeamish in the pocket despite the fact he's wearing the tackle-proof yellow jersey.
There are a lot of position battles to watch this offseason: The wide receivers, defensive ends and safeties, but one battle not too many people are keying on, is at the backup running back spot. Most probably think the depth chart for the ball carriers is set with the way Kolby Smith performed last year and all the talent Jamaal Charles brings to the table, but I beg to differ.
There is no doubt that the best running back on the field this morning, other than Larry Johnson, was Jackie Battle, and Dantrell Savage is no slouch either. Battle's running style is very reminiscent of Green Bay's Ryan Grant. They both run with their pads high and are downhill, bruising backs with some speed in the open field.
Battle definitely has what it takes to be an NFL runner, but may be on the wrong team. Charles and Smith both possess skills other than running, like being able to catch the ball out of the backfield and an ability to pass protect.
Head Coach Herm Edwards mentioned in his press conference this morning that he only has enough room on the roster to suit up three running backs, and the backups will have to be able to contribute on special teams. If Battle wants to make this team, he will need to prove he can do more than run the ball.
If he doesn't make the final roster, the Chiefs may try to cut him and hide him on the practice squad, but if I were a general manager with a need for depth at the running back position, I would snatch Battle off waivers in a heartbeat. He could be one of those you guys you're going to want on your fantasy squad if a couple backs go down on one team, ala Willie Parker or Samkon Gado.
That's all I got from the morning session, folks, but if Glenn Dorsey practices this evening, I'll be all over him like Rosie O'Donnell on a jelly donut.
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