From the FanPosts. Want to get your FanPost featured on the front page? Here's how. -Joel
Hello ladies and germs I just flew in from Guam and boy are my arms tired, yuk yuk. Seriously, I'm mad jet lagged today, going on about two hours sleep. But I dragged my slightly swollen feet to practice this morning, so I figured I might as well jot down a few things I saw, blurrily, when I wasn't scraping snot out of my eyes. I'll see how much I remember, and if it amounts to more than a hundred words or so, then I'll hit post. Oh lookie there, ninety words already, coastin from here on out.
First off, I was late. Got to the parking lot right at 8:15, and there were already a good number of cars. But when I walked in, I saw to my delight that there was still lots of open grassy space on the hill in front of the left-hand endzone, so I got to see the offense's practice field today.
It looked to me like there was a little less punt/kick return at the beginning of practice today, but that might just be my imagination. I didn't notice the parade of prospective returners practice-catching that I saw the first week. So maybe they've got the returners pretty much decided or, like I said, maybe I just didn't see it (eyesnot, remember?). The team did get a couple good segments of full-team work on ST toward the middle and end of practice, with Dustin actually punting to a returner and the rushers actually trying to get a block. I noticed mostly McCluster getting the return work in these. Players on both sides of those drills made some plays, which I take as a good sign.
The major thing I noticed about the O drills today was the time they used on very specific pass plays to the RBs. They would line up in what looked to me like an offset I (though I didn't have the best angle on the formation, so take that with a grain of salt), the QB would play action fake, the FB would run straight through the line and either turn around to face the QB or cut right, the HB would flare out to the left, and the QB would throw to one of them. They ran that drill several times, enough that I lost count, with all different personnel. I thought that was interesting, given how much the starters worked the short stuff against NO. Looked to me like everybody was fairly sharp in this drill, but they were playing against air.
The O also practiced some deep routes before the 11 on 11. It did seem to my subjective mind that they ran a few more deep routes, and earlier in practice, than they did the first week. But it also did not appear to me like they were compensating for the lack of deep passes against NO, because they were still mixing the deep routes with plenty of shorts and mediums. Everybody looked pretty sharp in this one, too. At least, I didn't notice any blatant drops or missed throws.
Unfortunately, that success against air did not carry over to the team drills. Alex had a helluva time finding receivers today. He tucked it multiple times. The backups were more loose with the ball, but without actually counting I'd say that they did not have a high completion percentage. At one point, I started to think that the D might have to call off the dogs in order to let the O get in some quality practice, develop some timing and confidence. I didn't see the D get any INTs, but it looked like they just smothered the passing game today with both pressure and coverage. Good for the D, worrisome for the O.
So, after that, let me see if I can remember any positives for the passing O... Alex did hit Bowe in stride a time or two, so it looks like those two might be getting used to each other. Alex also looked like he was very aware about leading a receiver into a big hit. One play I remember specifically, he threw the ball low and behind a receiver who was about to sit down in a zone, but it was actually perfect placement to protect that receiver from a defender who was waiting to jack him up. One hope I have for Alex, it looks like he won't get our receivers hurt as much as our QBs did last year.
Now for some Alex concerns (you knew they were coming). I missed the preseason game Friday, but I read about it on AP, and amongst the glory of that first drive I saw some angst for the missing wide receivers. So I watched my recording (yes, I record preseason games) of that first drive, partly to see what it was all about, and so that I'd have some things to watch for at camp today. I thought it was a very good drive, everybody did their part, there seemed to be very little confusion considering that the players were all in a new offense, and players made plays. But Alex did ignore Bowe a couple of times. I'll see if I can post some grainy screenshots from my grainy recording:
(Nope, not working. I get a "500" error. Weird, because I had no trouble posting a pic from Photobucket in my last fanpost. CHRIS! FIX THIS! Anyway, I'll see if I can post the pics in the comments.)
Anyway, two plays on that drive where Bowe was open. First time was Alex's "sack" where he ran out of bounds for a one-yard loss, Bowe was open for a short dump-off over the middle before Alex got pressured. Second time was McCluster's catch. McCluster did get a first down on that catch, BUT Bowe was all by himself on the sideline with, I think, just one deep CB between him and the endzone.
So, maybe the offense was practicing specific things, and Alex ignored Bowe by design. Maybe there were things that Alex saw in the coverage that I couldn't because I don't have the all-22 view. Whatever, we scored. And it looked to me like Alex did make a couple of very good decisions with the ball on other plays, when everyone appeared to be covered. But the O will not be able to afford to leave plays on the field like that in the regular season, against better defenses. And, I also saw a play in practice today that looked like Bowe was open near the sideline, and Alex tucked the ball instead of throwing it... Whatever the case in these particular instances, Alex does have a history of erring on the conservative side, so hopefully Reid can help him improve in that area.
OK, moving on - There was a lot I missed with the 11 on 11 because I was on the opposite field today. But out of the things that I did see, Bray gets my award for throw of the day. He was standing near the middle of the field, or maybe even toward the opposite hash, and he threw a laser that hit Richardson in stride as he was running down the sideline. I "ooo'd" because it was not just the typical deep out laser that we've come to expect from arm-talent boy... Richardson was actually running full speed down the sideline. So, Bray threw a pass with very little arc that hit a fast receiver who was running deep down the opposite sideline, and hit him in stride. I mean, BOOM.
Knile Davis looked pretty good today. You heard me right, NN, I just complimented ja boi Knile. I saw one cut in particular that actually looked like a cut, instead of the dancing that I'd seen in previous practices and in his college video. And for some reason, our defense seems to have it out for him. Maybe just my imagination, but it just looks to me like they go after Knile a little faster than they go after the other backs, and he seems to take the hardest hits. But if that is the case, then he's taking his lumps and keeping on. I've heard that Eric Bieniemy is a good RB coach, so hopefully he can bring the best out of Knile.
Let's see, what else... I'd have to say that Allen Bailey was my standout on D today. First time I noticed him today, he beat the tackle clean in pass rush drills, vs Stephenson who is no slouch in those drills. First time I'd personally seen Bailey do that. And he looked pretty good in the rest of that drill, too. He seemed to have improved his quick-twitch off the snap, at least in the drill - unfortunately I wasn't close enough to judge that during 11 on 11. But he did have a pretty spectacular TFL in 11 on 11 where he came through the line behind a sweep and did a sort of Superman leap onto the RB's shoulders before the back could cut upfield.
Stephenson looked good today, too. Like I said, he almost always does look impressive to me during the pass rush drill, which usually favors the rusher. He was playing both LT and RT, since Fisher was out today, I assume for his busted up hands. I don't remember seeing Stephenson get effectively bull-rushed, and he can slide fast enough to keep up with pretty much any rusher going for the edge. He cleans up his technique, gets some knowledge of different opponents' tendencies, I have hope that he can be pretty effective in the future.
Poe and Hudson had some pretty good bullfight battles today. Poe is just a strong MF'in dude when he pushes straight ahead, but Hudson is good at re-setting his feet and making the rusher struggle for every inch. Fun stuff to watch.
Albert looked a lot more into things today than the last time I went to camp a week ago. He had some good reps against Hali. Looks like Hali has taught Albert to absorb some of those Master Kim hand slaps.
A sixtyish-year-old guy came over and stood uncomfortably close to where I was sitting on the hill, and then he sat on my hand. He appeared not to notice when I reclaimed my hand and shot him a look. Later, he rolled onto one hip so that he could fart, so I know that his butt isn't completely numb. Some mouthbreathing girl stood up between me and the 11 on 11 and just stood there facing away from the practice, apparently so she could oggle the VIP tent. People, please do not wander aimlessly through a small and crowded swag tent with your friggin phone glued to your funny face...
Deep breath. Cleansing breath. Clear August sky, gentle breeze, soothing stroll through the parking lot toward my car and home to rest my jet lag. Just ignore the jerk who sets off his horn right next to my damn ear because he can't be bothered to wait ten damn seconds for one single car in a very un-busy parking lot to pull out of its spot where the driver almost certainly had no way to see the horn blowing jerk coming. Resist the urge to MAKE the horn jerk look at me while he glares the other direction toward a driver that he doesn't know and can't see while protected behind his car and his wife.
Ever feel like getting in touch with your inner raging psychopath? Take a 30 hour airplane trip. That'll put a scuff or two on your thin veneer of civilization.
Almost forgot to mention, I believe that the 2nd team O got a few extra reps in 11 on 11 toward the end of practice today. I'm not sure, but it looked to me like Chase and at least some of the 2nd team went in first when they started one of the last team sessions. So, maybe getting some extra work after they struggled against NO. Alex still got the lion's share of reps, as should be. Chase clearly got the second most reps. And it looked like Bray might have gotten just a couple more reps than Stanzi, but it also looked like Bray was rotating in with the 3s and Stanzi with the 4s.
Let's see, anything else....? Nope. I'm tired. I think I'll go sleep a little bit now, after I try to post the pictures I promised in the comments. Then later on I'll check back in case anybody has any questions about my mild ambivalence toward Alex's play (which, on this site, is synonymous with murderous hatred toward Alex's soul and everything he ever loved or touched), Chiefs practice, football, or jerks behind glass rectangles.