July 27, 2012; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Donatari Poe (92) runs a drill during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the annual Family Fun Day in front of 7,044 fans, according to the team’s PR crew.
Temperatures were supposedly in the high 80s, according to the forecast. However, it felt much hotter in the stands and walking around the stadium grounds mingling with fans.
Coach Romeo Crennel indicated during his morning media session that he wasn’t too pleased with the team’s efforts from the previous day, but wanted to use the practice to better themselves.
Mission accomplished, as there were plenty of cheers from the spectators throughout the afternoon session.
Crennel said on Saturday morning that cornerback Brandon Flowers (foot) would not go in the afternoon session. However, Flowers was on the field in full pads during the initial stretching and conditioning phase of practice, much to the surprise of many.
But any thoughts of Flowers actually attempting to give practice a try were quickly dispelled as he found a place on the sideline and watched his teammates go through drills.
There’s no need to put Flowers at risk with the team having Sunday off. It was a smart decision to hold him out with hopes to get him back on the field at some point next week as the team prepares for preseason action on Friday, Aug. 10 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Speaking of the Cardinals
Crennel made it clear during his morning media session that the Chiefs and Cardinals would have a joint practice. At no point was the word "scrimmage" used.
The Chiefs continued to use the rotation of cornerback Javier Arenas, running back Dexter McCluster, wide receiver Devon Wylie and running back Cyrus Gray as returners, in that order.
Arenas got the crowd pumped early in practice when he took a kick and burst down the left sideline during special teams drills.
Not to be outdone, McCluster did the same on the right side shortly after.
As for Wylie, he’s lightning quick and is everything advertised when it comes to his speed.
Seeing is appreciating
Readers of this site are well aware of Joel Thorman’s reference to rookie defensive tackle Dontari Poe’s “tree trunk” legs. And that label is perfect.
But when you see Poe in action, you quickly appreciate the space he eats up on the defensive line.
He is a man’s man.
During the morning walk-through, he was lined up opposite of left guard Ryan Lilja, who tips the scale at 6-foot-2, 290 pounds. However, when the ball was snapped and the line shifted to the right, Lilja was lost in Poe’s frame.
Starting quarterback Matt Cassel didn’t look too bad in the first 11-on-11 drill early in practice, even throwing a dart across the middle to second-year wide receiver Jon Baldwin.
Perhaps it was the jitters of playing in front of the Family Fun Day crowd, but he wasn’t particularly sharp in the next two series.
During 7-on-7 drills, Cassel completed 2-of-5 passes and most his incomplete throws were off the mark, either behind the receiver or over their heads.
On the next 11-on-11 drill, Cassel completed 2-of-4 passes. He took a shot down the field to Baldwin, but cornerback Stanford Routt broke it up.
Cassel settled down during the two-minute drill, completing all four of his passes to move the offense into field goal range, where kicker Ryan Succop nailed a 40-plus yard attempt.
Half full, or half empty?
Overall, it wasn’t the best of practices for the quarterbacks. Second-year quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw a pick and Cassel was the victim of a Kendrick Lewis interception.
Still, there are two ways to look at this: The quarterbacks were very average on Saturday or the defensive secondary is stout.
It’s still early and the first two preseason games won’t allow a proper gauge for the quarterbacks. Don’t blink because you may miss them on the field after a series or two.
The time to be a tad concerned is when the critical Week Three preseason game rolls around, as this contest is traditionally viewed as the dress rehearsal for the regular season and starters often go beyond halftime.
Ultimately, the team’s success will depend on the quarterback play.
The secondary will be solid.
What I like about you
Seeing the first-string offensive line take the field makes you realize the immense potential this group has in 2012.
The Chiefs have a solid foundation with left tackle Branden Albert, right guard Ryan Lilja, center Rodney Hudson, right guard Jon Asamoah and right tackle Eric Winston.
There are some websites and analysts calling this group underrated and that’s correct.
This unit, which is a perfect combination of youth and veteran savvy, deserves to be billed as one of the league’s top emerging units.
What I like about you, Take II
Media – and especially fans – have to love coach Romeo Crennel’s transparency during his media sessions.
Unlike former coach Todd Haley, who was famous for his desire to “only talk about the players practicing” line, Crennel offers information freely or when asked about a player.
Communication is a two-way street and Crennel is applauded for his willingness to not leave us in the dark.
Pass of the day
This distinction belongs to backup quarterback Brady Quinn, who threw a pretty fade pass to wide receiver Jeremy Horne in the left corner of the end zone. Horne made a leaping catch over the outstretched arms of the defender for the score.
Despite no news on wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has yet to sign his one-year franchise tender, there was clearly a buzz in the air during and following Saturday afternoon’s practice.
The Chiefs are off on Sunday, but return to the grind on Monday for Game Week preparations.