This fun spirited day was likely Coach Vermeil's way of rewarding his players for what he called "the best week of OTA's" that he's had since he's been here. The reward itself however had little to do with wearing hats and more to do with players not wearing helmets in near 90 degree heat. Without helmets the team was in shorts and shirts which signaled a general acceptance that this would be a light day of practice.
Of all of the players on the field, the 6-1 260lb Kendrell Bell didn't seem to understand the concept of a light day. Number 99 was quietly running through his linebacker drills with the same intensity as he always does. The NFL's 2001 defensive rookie of the year undoubtedly wants to get back to the level of play that earned him the award.
He also appears to be carrying a chip on his shoulder over the injury prone asterisk next to his name. In fact, he refuses to discuss injuries with the media. When approached on how his strained groin was doing he simply replied, "I don't talk about stuff like that. I am out here practicing and doing good. That's all I can ask for. As long as I am on the field I am 100% or else I wouldn't be out there."
Injury wasn't the only question mark with Bell either. Many Chiefs fans were surprised to hear that Bell would be the playing right outside linebacker rather than middle linebacker. Because Bell played right inside linebacker in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense there was some concern on how he might adjust to the Chiefs defense.
Fortunately he seems to be adjusting to right outside linebacker in Gunther Cunningham's 4-3 fairly quickly. "It all starts with the defensive coordinator and understanding his philosophy." said Bell. "So far I understand everything he is trying to achieve. I am picking up things well, it is a new thing for me but I think I will be ok." He also went on to say, "As a player and an athlete you have to be able to do things you aren't normally used to. You work at it, you get better at it and eventually you keep trying and achieve what you want to achieve."
Regardless of how well Bell plays at outside linebacker there will still be those who think he belongs in the middle. Those individuals can still hold out hope based on Bell's comments at OTA's, "I will play any linebacker position. Coach wants all of the linebackers to know every linebacker position both outsides and inside. Right now it is up in the air, we are just trying to see who fits where. That's what these practices are for."
What about Bell's current teammates at linebacker?
How does he perceive his new teammates based on the high standards he likely has coming from Pittsburgh?
How do Fox and Johnson stack up to Porter and Foote?
"There were a couple more veteran guys in Pittsburgh and these guys are young but they have the ability" said Bell. I think most Chiefs fans would gladly take that endorsement.
Healthy Bell Grasping The Defense
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