Head Coach Todd Haley was asked if he felt the offense was ahead of the defense, or vice versa, or if it even mattered at this point. He didn't see it as an issue and based on the way it shined in the red zone today, Haley's defense came out the winner.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was physically tired after the long weekend of practices, and had praise for the defense, who he said was "looking good."
Defenders were flying all over the field in red zone drills. They were so dominant that at one point Haley pleaded with someone on his offense to step up and make a play. Though that happened toward the end of the drills, it was not the case early on.
One of the bright spots was outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who showed better than average closing speed in breaking up a pass at the goal line. He's lost some weight and the Chiefs coaches believe he can get the job done in their new 3-4 alignment.
The back seven were also all over the field. The rest of the linebackers were active and played like they wanted to prove something today. Derrick Johnson was back with the first unit and in team drills was working hard and earning praise from his coaches.
Those two players might be the key to the entire defense. If Johnson and Hali can make plays like they did this weekend, the Chiefs just might be respectable on defense. That will definitely be true if the young cornerback trio of Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr and Maurice Leggett (perhaps the MVP this weekend) continue to play with the type of intensity and passion they displayed the last week of practices.
Right now the defense has been a surprise. That's only good news for a unit that has struggled for nearly a decade.
CB Maurice Leggett - He moved ahead of Carr Sunday, working with the starters. He had a nice interception on Saturday returning a Matt Cassel interception for a touchdown. He's playing with great confidence and was all over the field.
QB Matt Cassel- Right now it doesn't appear anything will prevent him from becoming KC's starting quarterback in 2009. For the most part he made all the throws and his teammates are already believing in him. Even backup Tyler Thigpen, who was solid this weekend, is a big fan. The Chiefs have never had this much youth or talent behind center.
LT Brandon Albert - He talked openly about coming into offseason workouts about 40 pounds over weight, but he's in great shape now after shedding most of it. He was solid in team drills and dominated in 11-on-11 drills. His footwork has improved and Haley's hope that he'll play at 305 pounds instead of the 320 he played at last year, is a good sign that Albert might avoid that sophomore jinx.
WR Dwayne Bowe - He's always in great shape, but most impressive is that he hasn't been dropping the ball. He caught everything thrown his way this weekend and right now is acting like a top receiver. Considering the rest of the wide receivers have struggled outside of second-year man Rodney Wright, the Chiefs need Bowe to be lights out.
LB Mike Vrabel - He's taller and quicker than expected and has already assumed a leadership role on defense. His work ethic is strong. For a player that had missed all of the OTA sessions previously, you would not have known by the way he was flying around this weekend.
S Jarrad Page - The former UCLA standout was another player who was all over the place. Page actually showed off some speed in a new drill where the coaching staff throws passes over the defense's head, and the defenders have to turn and burn. He made a couple of over-the-shoulder, circus catches, quickly making adjustments to the ball.
DE Tyson Jackson - It's clear why General Manager Scott Pioli was so high on Jackson. He's the most gifted young defensive player the Chiefs have drafted in awhile. He worked his butt of this weekend like he had something to prove and by his statements, you can tell he loves football.
K Ryan Succop - He has a strong leg and nailed some kicks Sunday over 55 yards, with a slight wind at his back. He'll battle Connor Barth likely until he final cutdown day for the Chiefs' kicker job.
Sunday Mini-Camp Report
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