Day 7: Training Camp Quick Hitters – PM Practice

The Chiefs practiced hard and heavy this afternoon in the sweltering heat for about 2 ½ hours, beginning with some non-contact position group drills, then some Special Teams work with the Punters, both the cover and return units.

In this initial session Punter Dustin Colquitt had an outstanding practice. After this mornings practice, Coach Vermeil commented about some inconsistency from both Punters, but that was not the case this afternoon.

Colquitt had only one miss hit in a dozen tries, booming some of the highest punts I have seen, all with great hang-time. Punter Nick Murphy also had a good day, but could not match Colquitt's amazing height, distance, or hang-time. Not to be out-done, Return Specialist Dante Hall did not drop a single punt, until the punt coverage team worked on downing punts inside the 10. Offensive Tackle Will Svitek downed one at the 1-yard line that drew praise from Special Teams Coach Frank Gansz, Jr. Svitek showed impressive speed and agility for a large man.

The team got together for some 7 on 7 drills and that featured mostly Trent Green at quarterback. Trent really doesn't like to watch and relished getting the reps, but the coaches plan was to give Trent almost all of the non-contact reps and most of the 11 on 11 scrimmage reps went to the other QBs'. Even though the QBs' don't get hit, Trent runs a lot and is very physical when he practices.

An hour and a half into the practice, the horn blew an it was time for some hitting. The teams scrimmaged 11 on 11 with the ones going against the twos and vice versa, then the ones vs the ones for several trips up and down the practice field.

Players had already put in 90 minutes of work and the screams for "Water!!" were heard all over the field until the 11 on 11…then a more serious tone took over and the players who weren't in the action became spectators and cheered their position mates on.

The player of the day on defense was definitely Outside Linebacker Derrick Johnson. This guy is a freak! Its like he has been playing pro ball for years, there will not be any adjustment period needed. On one particular play, after Johnson was blocked by Brian Waters and spun completely around and had his back to the ball carrier, the rookie came literally out of nowhere, flew past fellow defenders, to push Running Back Larry Johnson out of bounds for a minimal gain. The fans watching loved it and so did some of his teammates.

I was standing next to John Clayton of ESPN who predicted that Johnson would win the Rookie Defensive Player of the year award. More on my chat with Clayton in an upcoming article, but he was so impressed that he took out his cell phone and called someone and described the play that Johnson had made as "awesome", and "amazing".

Corner back Eric Warfield had a very good practice on defense as did Free Safety Greg Wesley and Defensive End Jimmy Wilkerson.

Offensively, Running Back Larry Johnson took advantage of Priest Holmes absence and ran very hard and very effectively, looking much better than the other backs. Of the 3rd string Running Backs and beyond, Dee Brown had the best day, getting several "atta-boys."

Todd Collins looks 10 years younger than he is today, as there is a very clear drop off in production when he and Green give way to Quarterbacks Damon Huard and James Killian. Chris Horn made some plays but had a couple bad drops, as did Jeris McIntyre, who blew two opportunities at big plays by either dropping the ball or in one case, giving up on the play only to watch the ball sail over his head.

In other Chiefs News:
Coach Vermeil decided to go without full pads in the afternoon practice after to last nights practice became a little too physical. Yesterday's evening practice was so intense that Priest Holmes suffered a mild concussion and Larry Johnson was unable to participate in the morning special teams walk through. Fans can rest easy though, Holmes and Johnson are fine.

John Browning has been held out of practice all week due to back problems. Browning is however expected to return to practice on Monday.

Defensive end Carlos Hall should return to practice on Saturday as he has been rehabbing from a tendon injury in his elbow.

Freddie Mitchell is in River Falls tonight and will practice again on Friday.

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