Mini Camp Quick Hits 6-13-06

The Chiefs hit the practice field on Tuesday, and Warpaint Illustrated was there to give fans an inside look. There were two new players as offensive tackle Kyle Turley and defensive tackle James Reed practiced as Chiefs for the first time.

Turley participated in individual drills today but didn't do any of the team stuff. Wearing No. 75 (likely to change unless Lional Dalton doesn't make the team), Turley looked light, despite being listed at 275, and definitely looked like a guy who'd taken some time off. He needs to add about 20 pounds, but Turley showed power and quickness off the ball in drills.

Offensive linemen Willie Roaf and John Welbourn were not at practice today, but the Chiefs indicated they were excused due to personal reasons.

The Chiefs are giving quarterback Trent Green some rest, opting to limit his reps in practice. With four arms in camp, they have that luxury, and it gives Brodie Croyle and Casey Printers more reps.

Wide receiver Dante Hall and cornerback Benny Sapp participated in individual drills. Hall looked pretty good taking his reps and appeared to be his old self in the return game. He had a spring in his step.

Wide receivers Craphonso Thorpe and Jeff Webb continued their strong play in today's practice. Thorpe is miles ahead of where he was last year. On one play, he did a great job of fighting off a defender who had jumped his route to catch the ball. On another, he showed amazing athleticism to go up and get what looked to be an overthrown ball.

Webb put a double move on cornerback Julian Battle that sent him to the ground.

I'm still waiting for rookie wide receiver Dan Melendez's speed. He could be thinking on the field too much, but this guy was a labeled a burner out of Maryland, posting a time in the 4.2's in workouts. I haven't seen the speed, but he does have a decent set of hands.

Lenny Walls looks better and better at the right cornerback spot with each passing day, and it looks like it's his job to lose, minus some unforeseen signing. He's a surprisingly fluid corner.

Cornerback Julian Battle is still struggling in coverage drills. He's not putting himself in good position to make plays, and has a habit of looking in the backfield. This forces him to grab wide receivers to prevent from losing his footing. Battle has a lot of work to do.

The defense is a lot more vocal and playing with more energy than they did in last year's practices. Players are talking trash to the offense and shouting encouragement to each other. Several defenders dominated in blitzing drills. Alphonso Hodge had a fantastic blitz from the outside as he was on the quarterback in a second after the ball was snapped. He timed his jump perfectly. Linebacker Rich Scanlon collapsed the middle on another blitz, and was in the quarterback's face before he could get all the way into his drop.

It was a good day for the offense in the running game. Running back McKenzi Smith showed some good moves and explosiveness, but the running backs in general were finding holes to run through. That's a testament to the play of the offensive line and tight ends, who might have had some motivation after the blitz drills.

Offensive tackle Kevin Sampson showed some power off the ball in individual drills. He's obviously motivated by the signing of Turley. Head coach Herm Edwards indicated that the Chiefs wanted a veteran guy backing up John Welbourn, and now Sampson's going to have to fight for his position.

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