From the Truman Sports Complex
On Monday morning, the Chiefs had 85 signed and unsigned players on their roster. When they took the field for their first OTA practice session of the off-season, 84 were on the indoor field at the team’s facility.
The only man missing was S Jarrad Page. As a restricted free agent, Page has not yet signed his tender offer and thus can’t take part in the workout without signing an injury waiver. Head coach Todd Haley declined to talk about Page and his absence, preferring to “talk about the guys that are here.”
Two of those guys that “were here” came as a surprise: veteran LG Brian Waters and OLB Mike Vrabel. Two of the oldest and most experienced players on the roster, Waters and Vrabel did not attend any of the OTA work last year. The only time their shadows cross the door at the team’s facilities came for the mandatory mini-camp.
But there was No. 50 lining up with the first defense and No. 54 was at his normal spot with the No. 1 offensive line.
“With both of those guys, I was in a good place,” Haley said of the veterans. “We were on the same page. This whole off-season has been a good sign of commitment by everybody involved. This isn’t just about today; it’s about the last few months. These guys are really working, and working together. Now we have the chance to take another step towards the goals that we want to reach.”
While not speaking specifically about Page, the head coach did make his feelings known about those who were taking part in the OTA.
“It’s their prerogative,” Haley said of participation in these voluntary practices. “This is about accomplishing goals that have been set and doing it the right way all the time. As a whole this group is doing it the way it needs to be done to have a chance to compete and be a good team in this league.
Of the 84 players on the field, six did not take part in the on-field work because of recovering from injuries from last year or off-season surgery: RB Jamaal Charles, CB Brandon Flowers, TE Brad Cottam, WR Quentin Lawrence, WR Lance Long and draft choice TE Tony Moeaki.
Speaking specifically only of Moeaki, Haley said: “He has something that should not be a big deal and he should be out there soon.”
Overall, Haley was pleased with the turnout and the type of work that the team was able to get done.
“It’s the time we start to get into some football again,” Haley said. “It’s still the strength and conditioning program, but now we are integrating some football into the program. I felt it was a productive day.”
Observations from the first OTA and remember, it’s May 17th and the opener is four months away:
- Ryan Lilja ran with the first team at right guard, between center Rudy Niswanger and RT Ryan O’Callaghan.
- The No. 2 offensive line was C Casey Wiegmann, LG Ikechuku Ndukwe, RG Colin Brown, LT Barry Richardson and RT Jermail Porter.
- The No. 3 offensive line was C Lemuel Jeanpierre, LG Andrew Lewis, RG Jon Asamoah, LT Tyler Eastman and RT Nick Landry.
- The man left out of the offensive line snaps was first-year guard Darryl Harris. He was dressed but did not get a significant number of opportunities.
- The No. 1 defense lined up with Reshard Langford at safety with veteran Jon McGraw. The cornerbacks were Brandon Carr and Maurice Leggett. The front seven was the normal starting group from last year with Glenn Dorsey, Ron Edwards and Tyson Jackson across the front, and linebackers Vrabel, Demorrio Williams, Corey Mays and Tamba Hali.
- The No. 2 defense was Wallace Gilberry, Shaun Smith and Alex Magee on the line, with Andy Studebaker, Derrick Johnson, Jovan Belcher and Pierre Walters at linebacker. The secondary had Mike Richardson and Travis Daniels at the corners, with Ricky Price and DaJuan Morgan at safety.
- New WR Jerheme Urban dropped a couple passes, including a slant where he heard footsteps from Mays in the middle of the field.
- Carr made a nice interception of a pass from QB Matt Cassel intended for WR Chris Chambers.
- Mays also had an interception of a bobbled pass thrown by Matt Gutierrez and newly signed S Andre Jones picked off a pass on a tipped ball by QB Tyler Palko.
- The Chiefs added three new players on Monday. They picked up TE Leroy Banks off the waiver wire, after he was released last week by Atlanta. Banks is a rookie free agent out of Southern Mississippi. They also signed two rookie free agents that took part in their rookie camp two weeks ago: Kansas State DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald and DB Andre Jones out of Akron.