Watching Herm Edwards play quarterback is easily one of the most entertaining parts of training camp, so when he started loosening up that howitzer again today, a crowd of fans approached the nearest fence. For a 54-year old, Edwards’ arm isn’t bad at all, and the raw enthusiasm he brings to the activity – yelling out mock signals under an invisible center, putting his assistant-coach backfield into motion – is just plain funny. “Herm the Quarterback” ran pursuit drills and threw interceptions to defensive backs this morning.
As you’ve probably heard, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is coaching KC’s linebackers this year, and he’s often stereotyped as someone who just yells a lot, but watching him with his new position group today, his attention to detail is remarkable. Cunningham ran a six-man drill focusing on linebacker zone drops this morning. Simple, right? Just backpeddle to a spot on the field? Not really. Cunningham harped on every little mistake his linebackers made in their drops – their depth, spacing, and even where they were looking. He’s clearly something of a perfectionist.
Rookie wide receiver/kick returner Kevin Robinson is still sidelined, so the Chiefs are searching for a punt returner. After practice today, special teams coach Mike Priefer ran punt-catch drills with the following players: Kevin McMahan, Will Poole, B.J. Sams, Rashad Barksdale, Dantrell Savage, Maurice Leggett.
Tony Gonzalez sat out today’s morning practice, but still found time afterwards to play catch with backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen. It’s that kind of work ethic that will one day see the tight end in Canton, Ohio.
Brian Waters was also given the morning off. Replacing Waters in the starting lineup at left guard was Tre Stallings, who more than held his own against rookie defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Larry Johnson took the handoff, started to his right and then accelerated through a huge hole off right tackle. Johnson was off to the races down the right sideline and no one would have caught him in a live game, as safety Bernard Pollard wound up sucking exhaust fumes in LJ’s wake. And Johnson made it look easy.
It was less than a year ago the Chiefs couldn’t run a screen pass to save their lives. But today, Larry Johnson plucked a Brodie Croyle pass from the air, turned upfield and saw almost nothing but green grass. Center Rudy Niswanger and left tackle Branden Albert got their motors running and escorted Johnson downfield for a huge gain.
Brodie Croyle finished a deep drop and stepped up in the pocket, his eyes focused downfield. Ignoring the incoming heat from defensive end Alfonso Boone, Croyle cocked his right arm and thumped a spiral 20 yards down the field right into the chest of Dwayne Bowe, who broke away from a defensive back and looked to be headed for paydirt. The Bowe Show is just about ready for dress rehearsal with the Minnesota Vikings.
Yes, Donnie Edwards is old, and only about 225 pounds. He’s also extremely intelligent and knows how to lay a hit on an off-balance running back. Today Edwards wasn’t remotely fooled by a throwback screen. Tyler Thigpen rolled to his right and threw back across the field to running back Kolby Smith, who caught the ball right before Edwards rudely dumped him for a loss, drawing praise from Herm Edwards.
Michael Allan was open, and the ball was perfectly thrown. For whatever reason, the second-year tight end wound up bobbling the ball as he tried to haul it in. Unfortunately for Allan, cornerback Rashad Barksdale was lurking in his path, resulting in a hit that dislodged the ball. Had the play been live, Barksdale might’ve ended up on ESPN.
The first Brodie Croyle pass attempt of the day nearly met with disaster. The ball was well thrown, and Dwayne Bowe was open, but couldn’t reel in the catch. That’s because Bernard Pollard came screaming in to lay a hit at the end of the play, sending Bowe to the turf.
Branden Albert just has Tamba Hali’s number in 11-on-11 drills. There’s almost no blindside pressure coming Brodie Croyle’s way at all. Hali is too small to mount an effective bull rush against Albert, and the rookie’s athletic ability eats Hali’s lack of foot speed for lunch. Albert also gets a push in the run game, and has been active at the second level (though he was beaten by linebacker Demorrio Williams once today).
Backup defensive tackle TJ Jackson’s got some game. The second-team offensive line has had trouble containing him almost every day, and today he penetrated and applied pressure at least three times.
KC Wolf. Whoever’s inside that costume was soaked in sweat this morning, the hottest and brightest of training camp so far. Seriously, if you see KC Wolf, try to cheer him up.
Glenn Dorsey escaped the wrath of Brian Waters this morning, but didn’t fare much better against Tre Stallings. To be fair, the Chiefs were double-teaming him with Rudy Niswanger at times, but I’m waiting for Dorsey to show the pass-rush skills he flashed at LSU. Today he wound up on the ground courtesy of Niswanger and later, backup guard Edwin Harrison. He even had some trouble against Travis Leffew. Shouldn’t Dorsey be blowing right past those guys?
The Chiefs don’t have a backup quarterback. Both Tyler Thigpen and Damon Huard threw horrible interceptions today (Thigpen’s was dropped by Maurice Leggett, but close enough) and neither have showed the accuracy Brodie Croyle continues to display.
Why did the Chiefs spend a third-round pick on Brad Cottam? Sure, he’s 6-8, but what use is that size if he’s not going to dominate the middle of the field? With Tony Gonzalez sitting out today, Cottam had an opportunity, and if he caught anything in 11-on-11 drills I missed it. Kansas City should be practicing some red-zone offense soon, so we’ll see if Cottam can haul in a touchdown or two.
“Knock their ass off!”
- Gunther Cunningham, being himself.
“Get your hands off that facemask, 71! Get your hands OFF that facemask.”
- Herm Edwards, chastising offensive tackle Will Svitek for a little too much post-play business.
“3-4! Gimme my ball! Don’t be takin’ my ball!”
- Herm the Quarterback, retrieving his ball from cornerback Tyron Brackenridge.
“YOU can’t see the ball and YOU can’t see the ball. Get your eyes into the backfield.”
- Cunningham, pointing out errors from his linebackers in drills.
- The sound of Bernard Pollard and Derrick Johnson butting helmets.
Tony Gonzalez, Brian Waters, Patrick Surtain, Turk McBride (stomach ache) and Kevin Robinson missed this morning’s practice.
Chiefs Arrive In River Falls