River Falls Recap: 7/31

The Chiefs took to the field this morning, but not for practice. Today was the day for the all-important conditioning test. Head Coach Todd Haley addressed the media this afternoon and was positive about the team's direction going into tomorrow's two-a-day practices.

"I thought that as a whole it went very well," he said. "One of the things I told you guys was that I was concerned that guys during their little bit of time off that they would continue to stay in condition, which I think as a group we did that and I feel pretty good about that now. Tomorrow, ah, the real fun starts."

Not every player passed the test or other parts of the physical, but Haley would not release those player's names, saying he has yet to discuss it with them and would like to do so first. Those who didn't pass will not be practicing tomorrow.

"When have a number of guys, a handful of guys, who are not going to pass the physical right now for a number of reasons," said Haley. "Not necessarily because of running. There are a number of different reasons. We don't have anybody who's real far off, that's what I feel good about. None of these are long term deals it doesn't appear. We should have everybody going pretty soon."

Haley reiterated his earlier comments about wanting his team to be well-conditioned in order to perform at its highest level.

"Whatever stage - whether it's the fourth quarter, the 16th game, the 18th game, the 19th, whatever it is, conditioning in my mind and our staff's mind is an important factor in helping you to win games," he said. "That's why it's something we've stressed from day one and will continue to stress all the way through the season."

Haley was quick to say talk is just talk. He doesn't care about it, and just wants to see his players walk the walk.

"That's more important to all the fans out there," he said. "But I know myself as a coach I go by what I see. That's kind of why throughout the spring I said the things I said. If guys are working, if guys are here, then that's what I'm interested in and not really in what they're saying, but what they're doing."

Friday, running back Larry Johnson commented on his role with the team and his desire to win games this season. He believes a new team and a new Larry Johnson will become evident. Haley had nothing but positive things to say about his running back.

"From my first day on the job Larry Johnson has appeared to be a player who enjoys football and he enjoys working at it," he said. "Larry obviously has proven in the past that's he's capable of being a very good running back in the league. Right now running back in general, that's one of the groups I'm excited to see how it plays out here, ‘cause I think we have some talent there and we have some competitive guys."

Haley made it clear that competition will not just be expected of the players, but necessary to win jobs that he says have not been claimed yet.

"Every position is wide open," he said. "I just told the team that at eight o'clock. This is an opportunity for everyone so every position is wide open right now."

While most players have been required to cut weight this offseason, running back Jamaal Charles has put on a few pounds at his coaches' request.

"Jamaal is a guy that we have hopes for," said Haley. "When he was coming out of college he was a player I thought a lot of. He's definitely got ability, now it's more of a deal of what he's going to do with it."

Defensive end Glenn Dorsey was close, but failed in his attempt to pass the conditioning test. Whether he's not completely healthy or at his physical best, Haley wouldn't say if last year's first-round pick will step on the field for practice tomorrow.

"I don't know that he's missing any time right now," he said. "Any time you miss it's gonna hurt you, it doesn't matter who you are. It's football season…football players are out on the field and they need to be out there. It's too big of job to miss any time, let alone a lot of time."

Some may think the kicking competition is over, but Haley said the return of former Chiefs kicker Connor Barth, who was released on waivers Tuesday, is a possibility.

"The competition has definitely not been eliminated," he said. "I could probably pull out a list right now of veteran kickers who are probably on a field right now staying ready. With the roster numbers this year, it's definitely a crunch to try to figure out what you want to do and who you can afford to lose. Connor is a guy that really worked hard in the off-season and did a commendable job last year so even Connor is not out of the running at this point; it's just a move we felt we had to make so the competition is on for everybody. "

Haley went on to express confidence in Ryan Succop, the team's rookie kicker.

"We drafted Ryan for a reason," he said. "He's a big, strong guy that should be pretty good on kickoffs and do some of those things, which is important. Whether it's Ryan or Connor or any other person out there right now, I don't know."

First-round pick Tyson Jackson has yet to sign or make an appearance at camp, but Haley said he would not be discussed. His only concern is with the players already present, and Haley made sure they know their time is precious.

"As I told all the guys," he said, "they're not just competing with the guys on this practice field, but really every other training camp that's going on."

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