Kendrell Bell - I have to admit that I could have been wrong about Bell. Last year he was clearly hurt and reports of an arthritic shoulder seemed accurate. However, Bell has looked like an all-pro this preseason, and his ability to make plays against the run and the pass has me convinced that if he's healthy, this defense will be much better than it was a year ago. Bell has been all over the field and looks like he's in the best shape of his career.
Derrick Johnson - After watching Thursday's OTA session, Johnson seems much more comfortable working in space than he did in 2005. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunnningham knows that he didn't use Johnson's speed well enough a year ago. So far he's blown up several runs and made several interceptions that have brought down the house from his defensive teammates. He's adding a new swagger to this defense and he's already acting like a seasoned veteran.
Craphonso Thorpe - The former Florida State wide receiver appears to have grown up. He added 12 pounds in the off-season. He might not beat our Samie Parker for the starting job opposite Eddie Kennison, but he's making moves on the field that bring back memories of his playing days at Florida State. He adds speed and height to the receiving the corps, something that's been missing since Marc Boerigter had a career year in 2002.
Damon Huard - Huard probably had his best week of practice in a Chiefs uniform these last seven days. Though he still seems unsettled in the pocket, especially when he gets some pressure, he made throws to the sidelines and over the middle that I'd not seen him make previously. Chiefs quarterbacks coach Terry Shea has worked with him quite a bit. He's getting a lot of snaps and that appears to be making a difference. Shea said he will be ready to step in for Trent Green in case of injury.
Dustin Colquitt - Colquitt appears to be punting the ball better than at anytime last season. His punts are traveling higher and farther and his signature ball rotation is creating havoc for the return team. Colquitt was solid last year, but he has All-Pro talent and could be one of the league's best in 2006.
Tamba Hali - On Thursday, Hali schooled right tackle Kevin Sampson. His speed to the quarterback is impressive, but even more impressive is his ability to play low to the ground. It's something that clearly gives him an advantage over offensive linemen that lack solid footwork. His initial burst is quick and he has very instinctive hands. He intercepted a pass on Tuesday at the line of scrimmage and I can't remember the last time I saw a Chiefs defensive lineman pick one clean like that.
Larry Johnson - Not that he needs anymore kudos from Warpaint Illustrated, but he looks as comfortable and as confident as I've ever seen. He has a command and a presence on the field that indicates a player who's ready to take a leadership role. He looks faster and stronger than he did a year ago and he's improved his pass-catching skills. If he adds that dimension to his game, the comparison to Jim Brown will only grow. Johnson has the potential to crush the single-season rushing record and with his growing red zone skills, he could also break the touchdown mark.
Alex Guerrero - The un-drafted free agent from Boise State appears to be making a strong bid for a roster spot. His play all over the field is being noticed by the coaching staff. For someone who wasn't even a thought on draft day, he could end up being a real find for this team. He recovered two fumbles this week and ran them back to the end zone each time. His motor is comparable to Hali's and he should be in the defensive line rotation. His rise could signal the end of the Junior Siavii experiment in Kansas City.
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