Thursday OTA Recap

Two weeks of OTAs have passed, and despite the fact we're not even close to seeing what the Chiefs can do with pads on, there's one constant theme. This football team has plenty more speed than it did a year ago. Youth is being served, and it's most evident in the secondary, where Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are playing like starters.

CB Brandon Flowers - Flowers may be 5-foot-10, but forget about his size - he was simply brilliant again Thursday. He's the starting right corner for this football team and has given fits to most everyone who has lined up against him.

He got the best of Dwayne Bowe today by breaking up a pass in tight coverage, moving into position to strip the ball from the receiver's outreached hands. Flowers' footwork is miles ahead of the man he's replacing (Ty Law) in the starting lineup and he's every bit the lock down corner the Chiefs hoped he'd be.

CB Brandon Carr - Today he intercepted a rocket throw from quarterback Brodie Croyle, stepping in front of Bowe. He was playing with the first team defense most of the afternoon and he's already moved ahead of Dimitri Patterson, who had been lining up opposite Flowers.

What separates Carr from the other young corners is that he's the tallest of the bunch, but his footwork and the way he can back peddle and then accelerate forward is impressive. Herm Edwards told me Carr had some of the best coaching he'd seen from a young corner coming out the draft. It's apparent Carr has plenty of talent – enough to be a starter? I think so.

CB Maurice Legett - Until Thursday's session I hadn't really noticed the Valdosta product, but he caught my eye in a big way. He was playing with the second team and is another player who appears capable of getting in the grill of a receiver but can also slide back in deep coverage.

In other words, he can play man to man, bump and run, or he can play zone. He has a legitimate shot at being a nickel back for this team. He nearly had an interception today on an errant throw from Croyle that just eluded his hands. The ball was high and Edwards got on him, reminding his young corner to use his basketball skills to his advantage.

DT Glenn Dorsey - For the second practice in a row it appeared he was struggling, but it's deceiving because the Chiefs haven't had an interior defensive lineman who requires a double team in quite some time. Dorsey gave Tre Stallings and Rudy Niswanger all they could handle today, as they teamed up to stop his penetration.

The key for the success of KC's defense this year will be Dorsey's ability to split that tandem. A lot will depend on the pass rushing abilities of the ends, but Dorsey is someone who has the skill to collapse any pocket.

LB Nate Harris - He's a physical linebacker who showed off his power today by getting in the middle of several running plays. He's not going to win a starting spot, but he could provide a strong piece of the backup puzzle.

The way defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Gunther Cunningham was getting after Donnie Edwards today, the best three linebackers will start for this football team in 2008. The rest will still get plenty of playing time. Harris is earning his stripes.

LB Steve Octavian - Every single time I see him practice I marvel at the fact he wasn't drafted. He's simply an extremely active linebacker. Even with his obvious talent, he needs to play well the next couple of weeks. Cunningham wants six linebackers who can interchange throughout the game.

We know the three starters, and throw in DeMorrio Williams and Nate Harris. That leaves a logjam for the final linebacker spot. I think Octavian would be outstanding on special teams and that might be where he separates himself from the rest of the pack.

K Connor Barth - He continues to be the best kicker in camp, nailing several 50-yard kicks with plenty of room to spare. However, after nailing seven field goals in a row today he shanked his last attempt, which brought the wrath of special teams coach Mike Preifer. Barth puts a loft on the ball, which gives him the edge on kickoffs as well - he can knock them in the end zone.

QB Brodie Croyle - It was not his best practice, but not cause for alarm. However, Edwards made the offense do another set of seven-on-seven drills because he didn't want Croyle to end his week of practice on a down note. The extra sessions were noteworthy because Croyle looked sharp at the end, despite the fact his offensive line lost the battle with the defense.

WR Bobby Sippio - You can tell he's been hanging out with his cousin, Dwayne Bowe. He has the same attitude and today he matched his hands. Sippio was all over the field making plays and showed an ability to catch the ball near the sidelines. He's also been working at returning kickoffs, though I expect sixth-round pick Kevin Robinson to take that job.

Sippio is a long shot to make this roster but there is no question he has better hands and command of the offense to date than free agent signee Devard Darling.

TE Brad Cottam - With Tony Gonzalez excused from practice this week, Cottam has seen a lot of action. Today he made some outstanding blocks on linebackers and defensive ends, opening up holes. He also made some terrific catches today, which makes me believe he and Gonzalez will be on the field at the same time. I can't see any linebacker or safety who can cover either one.

It'll be important for the Chiefs to get Cottam into the offensive flow early in the preseason because that weapon will open up the outside for the Chiefs in their attempts to be more productive offensively – especially in the red zone.

RT Barry Richardson - Finally I was able to focus on the Chiefs' sixth-round draft choice. He's a huge man who works well in a confined space. He was eaten up a couple of times by defensive end Alfonso Boone, but more often than not he got the best of him.

Damion McIntosh sat out today's practice and it was good to see someone else step up. Richardson needs to learn to rise a bit in his crouch so he doesn't lose his leverage. You can also tell his stance changes somewhat based on the playcall. But Richardson was better today than first-round pick Branden Albert, who lost his battle with defensive end Tamba Hali.

Quick Hitters:

C Rudy Niswanger - He looks 100 percent healthy to me and I love the way he plays center. He acts and looks like a starter. He's done a great job coming back from knee surgery.

G Tre Stallings - The third-year guard was solid today. He's been working out with former Chiefs All-Pro Will Shields, and I'd say he's a darkhorse to be a starter this year. If the season opened today, however, former Jets tackle Adrian Jones would be the starting right guard.

LT Herb Taylor - It looks like the Chiefs have abandoned the idea of moving him inside to guard. That's a good thing. Though Taylor's nowhere near the size of Albert, he's a solid backup and has played well thus far in OTAs.

RB Dantrell Savage - He was again outstanding Thursday. He's a sleeper and someone the Chiefs are going to have to hide come late August, because the running back depth chart is loaded.

TE Michael Allan - He dropped a laser from Croyle today, and that can't happen in crunch time. Right now the Chiefs will carry three tight ends depending on how they classify seventh-round pick Michael Merritt. Allan is a better player than he was a year ago and the Chiefs really want him to step up and be a part of the mix in 2008.

DC Gunther Cunningham - The fiery coach was in everybody's face today. It reminded me of a real training camp practice the way he was yelling and demanding the most out of his players.

HC Herm Edwards - I thought the move to extend practice today was a sign Edwards is already in tune with his players. Deep down he knows the season hinges on Croyle and he wanted to make sure today ended on a positive note.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories