Wednesday OTA Recap

With the second-to-last OTA practice in the books, today we look at some of the names you haven't heard as much of. We explore those walking the line between grabbing a roster spot or winding up on the cut list.

RB Jackie Battle - He's gone unnoticed for the most part in OTA sessions but hasn't been out of place. Right now Battle, who saw some action a year ago, is behind the eight-ball to make the roster. What's hurt him is the emergence of college free agent Dantrell Savage. That means his chances to make the roster are slim if you assume the Chiefs will carry four running backs on the roster this year.

FB Oliver Hoyte - He made a nice catch in the red zone today and his blocking has improved since the beginning of training camp. I heard Hoyte was battling an injury when the Chiefs claimed him off waivers, but I've not seen anything that leads me to believe he can't block or catch. If he can do either at a high level remains to be seen.

DE Jimmy Dingle - Today was really the first practice I saw him make plays on a consistent basis. The thing that stands out about Dingle is how he stays low to the ground when he's going after the quarterback. I think he's someone to watch at the onset of training camp, especially because the Chiefs don't have much depth at defensive end and the defensive line is anything but set in stone.

LB Nate Harris - Wednesday he was active calling out signals before the snap and making plays after it. I'm not sure he's going to be as good as undrafted free agent Steve Octavian, but the two are definitely battling to back up Napoleon Harris. I'm not sure who will win the job, but Nate Harris played well today.

LB Pat Thomas - Another under-the-radar guy who saw action in 2007. Last year the game was too big for him and that still might be the case. However, today his number kept showing up. The key for KC's linebackers, as I've said before, is to be in the right position so they can make a play or force the ball to their teammates. Thomas did that well today.

LB Weston Dacus - You probably can tell I spent a lot of time on the defensive side of the ball, but he was another player who was up to the challenge of trying to impress his coaching staff. Dacus came from a good college program at Arkansas so it's likely he'll make a quicker impact than other players. Wednesday he tackled well and it caught my eye. But he's still a long shot to make the roster.

S Khayyam Burns - Another small college player from Arkansas State who really stood out. Many of you were happy with the signing of Rutgers safety Ron Girault, but the way Burns played in the red zone today was impressive. He broke up a sure touchdown on one play by using his speed and locating the ball in mid-sprint, adjusting his body and knocking it away.

CB Jason Horton - Virtually an unknown in the OTA session but he was decent today in pass coverage. The Chiefs used a lot of cornerbacks in the two-minute drill and though Horton isn't as flashy as Brandon Carr or Brandon Flowers or anywhere near the corner Maurice Leggett is at the moment, he might eventually get ahead of guys like Tyron Brackenridge and Dimitri Patterson.


Nick's Notes

LT Branden Albert - Did not practice or participate in drills Wednesday and won't do anything Thursday in St. Joseph. Herm Edwards said that if the Chiefs had a game tomorrow Albert could play on his sore ankle, however. He didn't have a walking boot on but his ankle was wrapped. Bottom line is that he'll be 100 percent by training camp.

SS DaJuan Morgan - He also sat out practice with an undisclosed injury Wednesday, but he's definitely one of the most improved players in the secondary the past two weeks. He's going to play a lot in 2008.

K Nick Novak - Won the kicker of the day award when he nailed two ugly but accurate kicks in field goal drills. They started left and appeared to be heading wide, but all three sailed right through the uprights. Right now I'd say Novak and rookie kicker Connor Barth will head north to River Falls. Billy Cundiff appears to be the odd man out.

CB Brandon Flowers - Today he made an outstanding play, blowing up a screen pass. That's consistent with what he showed at Virginia Tech, where he excelled at getting to the line of scrimmage and making plays. What impressed me today is that he read the play from the outside, not the slot, and came up to strike Kolby Smith. If the play had been live he might've decapitated the running back.

TE Brad Cottam - Not his best day by far. He dropped two touchdown passes, one of which would have been called back due to a sack, but for being Mr. Sure Hands so far, that's not impressive.

G Tre Stallings- Another good day for him at the guard position. He's certainly taken the teachings of Will Shields to heart because right now I'd give him a B+ in OTAs. That's good enough to win a backup spot.

T Herb Taylor - Tough day for the TCU product. He was eaten up by defensive end Brian Johnston today, who played some with the first team defense Tuesday. That leads me to the conclusion that Taylor isn't as good as I think, or Johnston is just a better player. I'd say the latter.

G Adrian Jones - He was solid today and for the first time I really noticed his outstanding footwork and how he uses his size. It's remarkable how the right side of the offensive line has changed in just one offseason – that side is easily bigger and more athletic. Let's hope that equates to better play. Jones seems to have adapted nicely from tackle to guard.


Other Notes:

Warpaint Radio Show - Cross your fingers but over the next couple of weeks we hope to announce the participants for our new Warpaint Illustrated.com player show this season. Right now we have secured one Chiefs player and are hoping to nab one of his teammates. Last year we had a blast with Boomer Grigsby, but hope to top it with twice the star power in 2008.

Gunther Cunningham - Today he was in teaching mode with his linebackers. I've said this before, but I think he' missed coaching players one-on-one like he used to do with the Tennessee Titans. I'm not sure his players like it, but it's sure fun to watch as a fan.

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