Cliff Notes: Training Camp, Day 5 AM
WPI
WPI
Warpaint Illustrated Columnist
Posted Jul 28, 2008


What rookie is going to make the biggest impact for the Chiefs this year? Some may think Glenn Dorsey is the obvious answer, but let's not count out Branden Albert or Brandon Flowers.

Dorsey hasn't had any real “wow” moments yet this offseason, but then again, how many times do defensive tackles really have a “wow” moment? It is a tough position to judge. You can't measure success by touchdowns or yards like you can on the offensive side of the ball. You can't measure with sacks like you do with a defensive end, or picks with a defensive back.

There isn't a real, tangible statistic to evaluate how a defensive tackle is doing. A defensive tackle's job often doesn't entail trying to tackle the ball carrier. He is more often asked to soak up blockers so the linebackers can run free. That's why future hall-of-famer, Ray Lewis, demanded the Ravens select defensive tackle Haloti Ngata a few drafts back.

Many fans here in River Falls, and even some media members, may think that just because Dorsey isn't constantly in the backfield, he isn't making an impact. That's simply untrue. He is garnering double teams on almost every play, freeing up his teammates to do work. The three-technique defensive lineman plays the gap. A good one will almost always require a double team to be blocked, or the consequences could be dire for the offense.

Dorsey has that ability. If he comes out this year and has three or four sacks, you may find yourself starting to get down on him, but don't.

The comparisons of Dorsey to Warren Sapp, who matched his girth with uncanny quickness, are unfair. Though Sapp was listed at 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds last year, he was much larger in his younger days. During the latter part of his career, he had to shed some weight to keep his quickness. Early on in his career, there was no one at his size that could move the same way.

Sapp was, arguably, the greatest pass rushing defensive tackle of all time. He raised the bar for tackles, and there may never be another pass rushing middle man like him. I think the expectations and hype that are following Dorsey could turn into disappointment if you hang your hopes on every play and every report.

Dorsey is still a young player, and he’s practicing against a Pro Bowl guard in Brian Waters. There’s no better situation for him than right here in Kansas City, where he has a great sparring partner, love from the hometown fans, and an opportunity to start. Just temper your excitement so as to not be disappointed.

Now let's talk about some rookies that have had some “wow” moments. Brandon Flowers belongs in that category, as he’s reading plays and sticking to receivers like fly paper. Today, he stretched out to break up a pass from three steps behind Dwayne Bowe, who was running a crossing pattern and had the ball trapped in a vice-like death grip when Flowers dropped his arm like a guillotine blade, and the ball flew loose.

If you look at Flowers', he just looks like another short cornerback, and if you look at his 40-time, you won't be whistling Dixie either, but he makes plays. He dropped a pick yesterday, and made one of the best young receivers in the NFL drop a pass today. I think Chiefs fans will be pleased with the upgrade in the number 24 jersey this season.

Will Franklin is another rookie who has made some fantastic catches. He made three of them today. In position drills, he was running a crossing route and Tyler Thigpen threw a ball behind him. Franklin was able to stop his momentum, adjust his body, and slide to make the catch, drawing accolades from coaches and applause from fans.

Later in the same drill, Huard overthrew Franklin on a fade pattern, but he elevated (making it easy to see why his college nickname was “helicopter”) made the catch, and managed to keep his feet in bounds. Later, in 11-on-11s, Franklin was running a flag pattern with a defensive back draped all over him. Huard threw a great pass over his right shoulder, Franklin wrestled the ball away from the cornerback, and advanced it another 10 yards down field, showing why he is the number one option in the slot.

Branden Albert has shown some real promise in keeping Tamba Hali away from the quarterback, but Hali has gotten the better of the rookie a few times as well. One of the most amazing things about the Chiefs first three picks in the 2008 draft, is that they all play a position of need for the Kansas City, but they all have fantastic sparring partners in practice. Dorsey has Waters, Flowers has Bowe, and Albert has Hali, making for a great environment for players to get better.

Ever since Herm Edwards arrived in Kansas City, he has preached the need for competition in training camp and in practice. Well, it looks like he's finally got it.


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