From the Truman Sports Complex
It was a tough day for some of the rookies as the Chiefs got back to work Monday morning for their third week of OTAs.
It started differently for the young guys right off the bat. Until Monday, the rookies had their own lifting session before any of the veterans. That changed when they were all thrown in with the veterans.
On the field, the coaching staff turned up the heat a bit. And it showed. Rookie TE Leroy Banks made a great catch over his head in the end zone for a touchdown. But several plays later, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis threw him out of the huddle and asked for a different tight end because of confusion over an assignment.
Head coach Todd Haley spoke at length to his team about mistakes in the scoring zone, and how those had to be eliminated whether they were penalties or turnovers. Just two players later, rookie RB Dexter McCluster coughed up the ball on a run to the left side.
“The whole idea of the OTAs is to go through the training camp installation (of offense and defense) as best we can,” Haley said. “When we get to the mini-camp, we get through it again. That will give them a second time through and then when we get to training camp, we will do it again.
“They are getting a lot thrown at them right now and it stars to add up. You are seeing some of those things from the rookies maybe kind of catching up to them.”
QB Brodie Croyle did not take part in the practice, but he watched with his right index finger bandaged. Croyle banged the digit off a helmet during last Thursday’s OTA. Haley said “it should not be anything serious” about the injury.
Of the 86 players on the Chiefs roster, 85 were on the field. Again, the only missing player was FS Jarrad Page, a restricted free agent who has not signed the tender offer from the team.
Here are some other observations from the 90-minute workout:
- Weather conditions were hot and humid for the outside session, something Haley was happy to see. “With the change we are making in training camp (moving to St. Joe), it will be a little warmer than it has been in the past,” said Haley. ‘The more ways you can re-create that training camp environment, the better off you are. It was a productive day.”
- Joining Croyle on the sidelines was the same cast of characters that’s missed the first six OTA sessions: RB Jamaal Charles, CB Brandon Flowers, TE Brad Cottam, WR Quinten Lawrence, WR David Grimes, WR Lance Long and TE Tony Moeaki.
- Again, it’s the first day of June so take this with a grain of salt, but Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher were working with the first team defense during the practice. Haley had high praise for Johnson after the session. “Derrick is one of the guys here who is really working to be the best he can be,” said Haley. “If he can play big-time football for us that would be good for the Kansas City Chiefs.”
- Banks, who was claimed on waivers just days before the start of OTAs, continues to be impressive as a receiver. His touchdown catch in the red zone from QB Matt Gutierrez was a very nice play as he caught the ball over his right shoulder while fighting off coverage from a safety. Haley said he knew very little about Banks before he was claimed after being released by the Falcons. “He can run a little bit,” said Haley. “It looks like he has something to him. Overall, he’s picking up the offense fairly well it appears.” Working against Banks – he’s a tweener physically, at 6-3, 243 pounds; he’s the smallest TE on the roster.
- Also in the red zone sessions, WRs Jerheme Urban and Jeremy Horne had nice catches, pulling the ball in and getting their feet down in the end zone with coverage on them. The guy throwing all three of those passes was Gutierrez.
- McCluster spent the practice working exclusively at running back.
- On special teams, coordinator Steve Hoffman worked the team through some mental reps on the kickoff return, specifically the work of the wedge.
- Veteran C Casey Wiegmann took a few snaps with the No. 1 offense, including a play where he dribbled a shotgun snap back to the quarterback.
- Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel spent extra time working with the nose tackles during the individual position drills.
- The linebackers spent a lot of their position drill time working on pass drops.