Another day in River Falls, another experience for Glenn Dorsey. Today the rookie defensive tackle got up close and personal with Chiefs fans after practice, signing countless autographs for about 30 minutes and smiling until it seemed his face would crack.
Defensive line coach Tim Krumrie is loud and uses plenty of colorful metaphors, but his attention to detail and his tireless approach to coaching is a marvel to watch. Krumrie began the day emphasizing neutral zone discipline in every drill that required a player to place his hand on the ground. He was back at it again 30 minutes later during 11-on-11's, reinforcing the concept he began the day with.
During position group drills, Krumrie focuses on the little things – turning your head to look for the quarterback, hand placement, foot placement, anything that's vital to rushing the passer. And at the end of the day, with mere minutes left in practice, Krumrie was still coaching up a relaxed Tamba Hali away from the action, quietly taking him through defensive line technique. Few people notice that sort of thing in the heat of July, but everyone will notice it in the chill of December when Hali beats an offensive tackle.
Tank Tyler said he plans to have a breakout season in 2008, but he may have further to go than he thinks. Running through a drill at the beginning of practice, Tyler's feet got tangled in ropes, slowing his progress. It's an issue he struggled with last season as a rookie in training camp.
Brodie Croyle really looks like he's in complete command out there. Not only is he using audibles, as mentioned yesterday, but his effective use of the hard count has drawn several linemen offsides. Today Croyle got Glenn Dorsey to jump early.
The Chiefs ran another session of one-on-one defensive line vs. offensive line drills today. Tamba Hali got the better of Branden Albert twice with some nifty inside pass-rush moves, while Glenn Dorsey continued to struggle against veteran Brian Waters, who simply looks too strong for Dorsey to beat via pure bull rush. Second-team left tackle Herb Taylor handled defensive end Brian Johnston well twice, while rookie right tackle Barry Richardson failed to contain end Trevor Johnson.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Brodie Croyle faked a handoff, bootlegged out to his left, flipped his hips around to set up and fired a laser down the left sideline. It found the hands of tight end Tony Gonzalez about 20 yards down the field for a big gain. Croyle's tight, accurate spiral was even more impressive considering cornerback Brandon Flowers sniffed out the bootleg action and was right in his quarterback's face.
It's clear why the Chiefs spent that second-round pick on cornerback Brandon Flowers. Despite the fact that Brodie Croyle had oodles of time to throw on one particular play, Flowers stayed with wide receiver Devard Darling, blanketing his inside route almost 20 yards down the field. Croyle tried to force in an ill-advised pass anyway, but the ball only found Flowers' hands, a near interception.
Linebacker Napoleon Harris may have been playing with the second-team defense for a brief period Sunday, but don't get down on him. When Kansas City's backup offensive unit tried to set up a screen, Harris sniffed it out, raced to the ball and stuffed the running back for a loss.
With no one open after a quick dropback, Brodie Croyle didn't panic. He simply turned on the jets and sprinted up the middle of the field for a huge gain, inciting cheers from the crowd. If only Croyle could wear a yellow jersey during real games.
Perhaps embarrassed by the fact that Larry Johnson was running all over the place like Walter Payton in his prime the other day, Kansas City's starting defense put a stop to it Sunday. The Chiefs' first-team offense had little success running the ball, especially up the middle.
It's early, but KC's pass protection looks much improved so far. The Chiefs dropped a bunch of passes today (more on that in a minute), but Brodie Croyle had plenty of time to throw in the pocket, and there's almost no pressure coming up the middle. A year ago that area was a problem with Casey Wiegmann and John Welbourn routinely getting beaten.
Dwayne Bowe is simply in a different class than the other Chiefs receivers. He hasn't caught many balls so far, but it seems every time he does he's got yards of separation and plenty of room to run after the catch. The offseason work with Brodie Croyle is already paying off. It's too bad Ty Law didn't report to River Falls this year. The Bowe Show would really be exciting.
Damon Huard looks nothing like the quarterback who once guided the Chiefs to five wins in 2006. He's tentative in the pocket, constantly double-clutching indecisively, and his passes float like balloons most of the time. Today he overthrew one receiver near the sideline so badly, the ball hit the orange fence way out of bounds. Later, in 7-on-7's, Huard couldn't even hit a receiver on a short out pattern. Any quarterbacks on the waiver wire?
The Chiefs receivers ruined a day of pretty good accuracy from Brodie Croyle. Dropped passes were fluttering in the air everywhere. Dwayne Bowe flubbed a one-handed attempt on a pass over the middle, Brad Cottam let one slip away, Tony Gonzalez racked up his third drop of training camp, Maurice Price butterfingered one, and who knows what happened in 7-on-7's. I was too disgusted to watch any more horrible offense.
Where are the Chiefs' safeties? Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard have been active in run defense, but seem to have disappeared defending the pass. It was training camp a year ago when Page constantly made plays on the ball, impressing everyone. So far KC's rookie corners are showing up more than any of the safeties.
"Fast! Play fast, men. We can't do this no more."
- Head Coach Herm Edwards, inciting his squad to pick up the tempo.
"Neutral zone! Are you in the neutral zone? YES! Get BACK!"
- Tim Krumrie, not letting up one iota in his quest for a picture-perfect defensive line.
"They're going to call that every time."
- Tight end Tony Gonzalez, infuriated by pass interference.
"I've been around 28 years. They haven't called it yet."
- Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, answering his tight end.
"Ain't been to the Pro Bowl."
- Gonzalez with a rebuttal.
"Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame tight end...but no Super Bowl."
- Herm Edwards with the last word.
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