Tuesday OTA Report

After four days off, the Chiefs were back at work Tuesday afternoon in one of the longest OTA sessions to date. Some veterans appeared worn down after practice as the young guns once again flexed their muscles.

S DeJuan Morgan - Tuesday was the first time I really focused on the Chiefs' third-round pick. What struck me more than his size and speed was the fact he just seemed to know where to go. The Chiefs spent a lot of time on their nickel package Tuesday and he was in the middle of the defense. He's an instinctive player and I can already tell he'll push Bernard Pollard for significant playing time.

QB Tyler Thigpen - Tuesday was his best practice so far. He threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Price that was picture-perfect. The ball was perfectly thrown, but what was impressive about Thigpen's play was that the pocket was collapsing on the outside as he stepped up and threw a strike. He had a better practice than Brodie Croyle.

CB Patrick Surtain - The veteran corner was back starting again opposite Brandon Flowers. He had his game on Tuesday and seemed to have an extra bounce in his step. I'm convinced Surtain is more suited to play the slot while the rookies (Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr) start, but he was strong Tuesday. The Chiefs will probably move him inside because he's lost a step or two, but it was not evident Tuesday. He's so good at reading quarterbacks that by putting him on the inside he could actually help with the development of the young corners.

LB Derrick Johnson - Tuesday was the first day that we saw the real DJ. He was extremely active and admitted after practice that his rise in play has a lot to do with the fact Gunther Cunningham is now coaching the linebackers. Johnson is entering his fourth year and it's time for him to play at an All-Pro level. I think that might happen because he acts like a professional now, and of all the linebackers he's been all over the field the most.

RT Barry Richardson - The big kid from Clemson was outstanding in contact drills. It seems like his footwork is coming along. In 11-on-11 drills he more than held his own. I really believe he's going to get significant time in training camp to prove he can be more than a backup to starter Damion McIntosh. Tuesday's practice was a bit more spirited along the offensive and defensive line and Richardson more then held his ground.

OG L.J. Anderson - The undrafted lineman from Central Florida was solid in team drills. I admit that I don't know much about Anderson but when the offensive line coach is giving you praise that's generally a good sign that you're getting it. The Chiefs must find another backup guard. Wade Smith is a lock to make the team because he can play center or guard, so Anderson is in a group fighting for one spot.

WR Jeff Webb - I was impressed with his hands in drills. He's always been solid at positioning his hands in front of his body. Many young receivers wait for the ball to arrive but he does not have that problem. Webb hasn't done enough in 11-on-11's to win the #2 spot, and in fact Devard Darling had his best OTA session Tuesday, so right now I'd give him the edge. Both still have some catching up to do to beat out rookie Will Franklin.

TE Brad Cottam - He's gaining experience while Tony Gonzalez sits out due to the birth of his child. Tuesday Cottam split the safeties, put on a burst of speed and hauled in a touchdown pass from Brodie Croyle. I can see why the Chiefs were high on him, and when you consider the fact he's already a good blocker, if Cottam can truly gain more confidence within this offense, he'll be rewarded with plenty of playing time.

DE Turk McBride - Finally he displayed the type of pass-rushing abilities that made the Chiefs feel he was worthy of a second-round pick a year ago. I'm not sold on moving Alfonso Boone to defensive end, and in fact Tuesday Boone was lined up next to Glenn Dorsey - the two were unbeatable side by side. For that move to be permanent, McBride has to become the player he was drafted to be. I just believe that Boone was so good a year ago inside that this defense can be even better – despite the young secondary - if he remains in the middle.

DE Tamba Hali - He certainly got the best of rookie left tackle Branden Albert in practice, though the two had some good battles. The best part about Hali's position change from a year ago is that he'll face Albert every single day in practice. Both players will benefit. Hali is 100 pecent healthy for the first time in nearly a year and his motor is running at full speed. With Jared Allen off to Minnesota it's imperative that Hali steps up as a pass rusher.

Nick's Notes

LG Brian Waters - The veteran guard didn't practice Tuesday but he was running on the side. He's trying to overcome a slight groin pull and might practice this weekend at the team's mandatory mini-camp.

OT Will Svitek - He's not going to participate in any of the OTA sessions. He's still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery but continues to participate in light drills with the other offensive linemen. Svitek told me he'll be ready to go at the onset of training camp. He's itching to play and the fact the Chiefs offered him a one-year high tender means they want him to play this year. Right now he's Albert's backup.

OG Chris McDuffie - He missed Tuesday's practice with a leg injury. He was lights out in week one of OTA sessions but really struggled last week. He needs to get back on the field if he's going to make a run for a roster spot.

FB Chris Manderino - His blocking was impressive in running back drills. He has the most experience of the five fullbacks on the roster and appears to be a frontrunner for the starting job along with rookie Mike Cox.

WR Jabari Arthur - The unknown Akron product had a nice practice today. He was more impressive in the receiver drills but has deceptive speed. Arthur is a long shot at the moment but could be a practice squad guy.

K Billy Cundiff - He wins the best kicker of the day award. His counterpart, Connor Barth, really struggled Tuesday while Cundiff looked like a pro.

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