Cliff Notes: Training Camp, Day 5 PM

Warpaint Illustrated Columnist
Posted Jul 28, 2008


Plenty of receivers have been suffering from a severe case of the drops thus far in River Falls. The three who have been catching everything around them are Dwayne Bowe, Will Franklin, and Bobby Sippio.

Bowe has made some fantastic catches, and you can tell how strong his hands are, but he did have a drop at tonight's practice. The receivers that have had a hard time catching the ball are Maurice Price, Kevin McMahan, and B.J. Sams.

I wouldn't worry too much about Sams, as he will probably never catch a pass from scrimmage as a Chief. If he can get healthy, I like Kevin Robinson to beat him out for the punt return job anyways. Robinson is still not practicing full on, but looked smooth in some agility drills earlier today.

Sams just doesn't look like he has any pep left in his step, and still doesn't seem to be cutting hard on his hurt knee. However, he did show the ability to catch and hold four punts at the same time after practice this evening.

In more special teams news, defensive tackle Derek Lokey and tight end Michael Allan received long snapping reps after this afternoon’s practice and running back Jamaal Charles stayed late to catch some kickoffs. His speed could be a huge weapon in the return game, and that is where I expect him to make the biggest impact as a rookie. However, when the offensive line was struggling earlier today, his speed allowed him to create without much blocking.

For the most part, I've been sending updates about players who have been doing well, now I want to let you know who isn't. Offensive tackle Will Svitek has really fallen from grace over the last 12 months. One of the best linemen out of NFL Europe, Svitek earned glowing reports from his overseas line coach and former Chief Tim Grunhard. Since then he’s played in 13 games, with six starts, and is now running with the third team.

Not only is Svitek running with the third team, he isn't keeping up with third string defensive end Jason Parker. Who's Jason Parker? That's my point exactly. You have to feel kind of bad for Svitek. He was riding high last season, saw a lot of old teammates move on, was forced to sit out OTAs because of injury, and is now fighting for a roster spot.

Another player losing his battle for a roster spot is Maurice Murray, who is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-3 and 334 pounds, but can't seem to put it together. He is constantly drawing the ire of defensive line coach Tim Krumrie, and hasn't won a single pass rushing battle yet.

Tight end John Paul Foschi is another player fighting an uphill battle. He has two draft choices ahead of him, one who hasn't been signed in Michael Merritt, and the greatest tight end of all time in Tony Gonzalez. Michael Allan still has a long way to go before he is ready to be a big contributor, but he has a lot more upside than Foschi. Watching practice, you kind of get the feeling that Foschi was brought in just to keep Allan from feeling too comfortable.

Damon Huard has also struggled mightily thus far in training camp. He did have a picture perfect pass to Will Franklin this morning, and his MO has always been kind of hot and cold, but these days it’s a lot more cold than hot. As of right now, it looks like his spot is safe on this team. He can mentor Brodie Croyle and Tyler Thigpen through some tough times, but Chiefs fans should really get worried if his number is called to play this year.

Many people have seen the picture of Chiefs' rookie free agent Johnny Dingle sitting next to his West Virginia teammate Scooter Berry on the bench during a game, with their last names reading “Dingleberry.” That may have drawn some attention to the acquisition of Dingle earlier this offseason, but he played at a big time school in a big time conference, and acquiring those types of players was one of Herm Edwards’ emphases this offseason. However, Dingle has been less than impressive, as he’s undersized, doesn't play particularly quick, and hasn't been able to create much of a pass rush.

I don't want to end on a sour note, so let me talk about a couple guys who have been impressive. One being the reserve tackle, Edwin Harrison, who is listed as a guard on the roster, but has been doing all his work at left tackle.

Harrison is a rookie free agent from Colorado, and maybe I missed him, but I don't remember him working out at OTAs. Currently he’s playing against third stringers, but has really looked strong. like his chances of making this football team, and I think he's outplayed both Herb Taylor and Barry Richardson, the second-team tackles.

Harrison gets off the ball relatively quick for his size, and is really strong. I’d like to see him get a few reps at right guard with the first team, but Herm Edwards seems dead set on leaving the starters alone so they can have time to gel.

Trevor Johnson, a four-year vet out of Nebraska, came into OTAs towards the end, but has shown he can really rush the passer. In this afternoon's practice, he got most of the first team reps at right end, as Tamba Hali and Brian Johnston did not participate in team drills for unspecified reasons.

Johnson beat Albert pretty handily in a one-on-one pass rushing drill, and has an effective bull rush. Johnson and Johnston should receive more reps with the first and second team. If they play well enough, the Chiefs might be able to move Alfonso Boone back inside.

I'm sure everyone is getting their fill of Glenn Dorsey info, but let's talk about Tank Tyler. He is straight up blowing away the second-team guards, be it Travis Leffew or Tre Stallings. Leffew may have had his feelings hurt this morning by Tank's dominance. In an offseason sit down with media, Gunther Cunningham talked about the development of Tyler, and about how once he started to realize he's stronger than the guards he's facing, he's going to breakout.

That confidence is definitely on display in River Falls. In that same sit down, Cunningham said Tank was the best defensive lineman the Chiefs had on first and second downs last season, he just needed to work on his pass rush. It's kind of neat to see the passing of the torch from Ron Edwards to Tank Tyler. Edwards may not be ready to pass it, but Tyler will take it. He is going to be a devastating run stopper, and his bull rush is definitely collapsing the pocket in passing situations. If there is one guy who I am really impressed with so far in training camp, it's Tank Tyler.


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