QUICK HITS –
The Chiefs practiced without Tamba Hali and Jared Allen this evening. As a result, the first team defensive line got little pressure on the quarterback – although Turk McBride did impress on one play when he drove a Minnesota lineman deep into the backfield with a powerful surge. I only saw the defense for a few plays, but it's clear the Chiefs need both of their starting defensive ends in the worst way.
Linebacker William Kershaw started in the middle in Napoleon Harris' absence.
Head coach Herm Edwards continues to rotate his quarterbacks. Tonight, Brodie Croyle worked with the second team while Damon Huard played with the starters – a contrast to the Mankato scrimmage.
OK, so maybe it did happen in warmups, but every time I watch KC's offense, tight end Mike Pinkard gives me a reason to stand up and clap. Tonight, while the backs, receivers and tight ends caught passes from the quarterbacks, when it was Pinkard's turn, he slipped and fell on the wet turf. He still managed to snag the ball and secure it while sitting on his backside.
The Chiefs rotated their wide receivers with the first-team offense. Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker started out, and were replaced by Chris Hannon and Jeff Webb.
Both teams were edgy tonight, as several fights threatened to break out until Chiefs right tackle Kyle Turley got smacked in the head around 8 PM by an unidentified Viking. Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards anticipated a scuffle would occur and called the practice off immediately.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Tony Gonzalez got a free release off the line of scrimmage, headed downfield and cut into the middle of the end zone as Damon Huard cocked his arm to fire. Twenty yards later KC's All-Pro tight end leaped into the air for a high pass and hauled it in for a touchdown, almost uncontested, to the delight of several hundred Chiefs fans in the stands.
Brent Little might be a longshot to make Kansas City's roster, but for one play on a cold Wisconsin night in August, he looked like an NFL receiver. Little got a clean release off the line of scrimmage, headed downfield and stopped on a dime as quarterback Brodie Croyle fired a high pass in his direction. Little jumped, plucked the ball from the air and endured a hard hit from a Vikings defensive back, holding on for a 20-yard gain.
Damon Huard. For the first practice in a while, he looked like the best quarterback on KC's roster. Huard hit 11 of 14 passes tonight, and completed the touchdown to Gonzalez (who dropped another Huard pass). Most importantly, he wasn't intercepted.
Damon Huard's favorite target. Kris Wilson hauled in five passes against the Vikings, and though they were short, that's the variety of receptions he'll see in the regular season anyway.
In the late-season chill of Kansas City, the Chiefs will need a reliable kicker. Tonight, facing blustery winds and temperatures around 50 degrees, kicker Justin Medlock hit five of six kicks, and made it look easy. KC's rookie kicker hit from 27, 32, 37 and 42 yards twice, missing once.
The first team offensive line wasn't as good in pass protection tonight, but they improved noticeably in the run game, in direct contrast to the scrimmage in Mankato. I felt the Chiefs first and second-team offensive lines won the great majority of the snaps in 9-on-7 drills.
Maybe it was the cold, or maybe he was just due, but Brodie Croyle wasn't on top of his game tonight. The second-year quarterback completed just eight of 16 passes with one interception and had another incompletion that could have easily been picked off. He looked slightly hesitant in the pocket at times, had a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage and fell down on his first snap. We'll see how he comes back on Monday.
The Chiefs returned to their regularly scheduled program of not getting the wide receivers involved. Only Brad Little and Brad Ekwerekwu caught passes tonight, and few balls were even thrown in the direction of the others. I may have a heart attack when the Chiefs finally attempt a deep ball.
Mother nature. Windy conditions, a slick field and light rain greeted the Chiefs and Vikings this evening, not to mention the fans, who have been accustomed to temperatures in the 80s for over a week now. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
"Planes, Trains and Automobiles." – Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, cracking a joke about players traveling to the scrimmages the last two days.
Chris Bober, Priest Holmes, Jason Dunn, Nate Harris, Napoleon Harris, Jared Allen sat out practice. Napoleon Harris was excused for personal reasons.
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