Day 8: Training Camp Quick Hitters (Week 1 Recap)

With the Chiefs having the day off I thought it would be a good idea to do a recap of some of my observations through the week. I have also included some of the quotes from Coach Vermeil's meeting with the media after yesterday afternoons practice.

Vermeil on 8-4-05 PM

Q: In the afternoon practice the team is usually in full pads. What made you decide to practice in shells for this practice?
Vermeil: "We took the pads off of them because we had goal line and short yardage work today and last night I thought the tempo got to hot. Priest Holmes ended up with a mild concussion and Larry Johnson couldn't go at practice this morning. I just felt I could better control the tempo if we went in shells."

Q: How has Eric Warfield performed in training camp thus far?
Vermeil: "He's doing well. He doesn't get the reps he normally gets but he is drilling well, practicing well, and the reps he is getting he's doing a good job with them. I think he is doing fine."

Q: Will Warfield automatically get his starting job back once his suspension is over?

Vermeil: "He understands that he has put himself in a situation he's going to have to battle out of by doing everything right. You provide opportunities for other people to take your job when you make the kind of mistakes that Eric made. But he's a competitor and he was our best defensive back last year and there is no reason he can't once again strive to be the same thing."

Q: Do you think your wide receivers are getting better by facing Patrick Surtain every day?
Vermeil: "Any wide receiver likes to compete against the best and Patrick has proven over the years of his career that he is one of the best corners in football and he has demonstrated that on the practice field."

Plays of the Week

In yesterdays afternoons practice Derrick Johnson made the type of play that only he is capable of making. During goal line drills the first team offense ran a naked bootleg to the right pylon. Johnson, who had coverage on the tight end, was sucked to the inside along with the rest of the defense and had his back to the line of scrimmage.

Trent Green had already turned the corner with a full head of steam and was two yards away from the five yard line by the time Johnson had spun around to see him. In an amazing display of athleticism Johnson covered eight yards in the blink of an eye to meet Green at the five and force him out of bounds.

The hardest hit of the week took place on Monday afternoon. In back to back instances the first team offense sent Priest Holmes on outside runs to the right side. Each time they ran this play Keyaron Fox came up to hammer Priest Holmes with bone jarring blows. Holmes hasn't taken hits like that since the Pittsburgh game of 2003 at the hands of the Chiefs own Kendrell Bell.

Running back Larry Johnson has had too many good runs to count. I would venture to say he has had at least seven runs of 30 yards or more. One of his best runs came in the Tuesday afternoon practice when he came around the left edge of the defense and then bounced even further outside to take the ball up the sideline for a 40 yard touchdown run.

Key Components
The interior of the defensive line has been a major thorn in side for Al Saunders and his offense. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd team defensive tackles have wreaked havoc on the offense all week long with Lional Dalton and Ryan Sims leading the way.

The starting defensive secondary has done a marvelous job taking away the downfield options for the offense. In many instances Collins and Green have been forced to check off to their underneath routes which are then promptly attacked by the Chiefs ferocious new group linebackers.

Other Chiefs Observations

The surprise of the week has been the absence of big plays out of Sammie Parker. Parker pretty much had his way with the defense during OTA's and mini-camp but lately he has been relatively silent.

Another surprising development at wide receiver has been the play of Craphonso Thorpe. Thorpe has come out of the gate fairly strong and is farther ahead of the learning curve than I anticipated. If he continues to learn at this pace Thorpe may be ready to contribute as early as mid season. That would be a huge step for any rookie wide receiver, especially in this offense.

Dexter McCleon has continued to play well at the right corner position. Right now how looks like the same player that had 6 interceptions and 55 tackles in 2003.

Second team quarterback Todd Collins has seen extensive action throughout camp and off season workouts. He has been getting three times the amount of work than he normally would with the first team offense. Chiefs fans will be pleased to hear that Collins had taken full advantage of this opportunity and thrown the ball exceptionally well all week long.

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