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 Team at different levels

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RustShack
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PostSubject: Team at different levels   Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:03 am

Chiefs camp report: Team is at different levels when it comes to fitness
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

ST. JOSEPH | The Chiefs put this most unusual of training camps on pause today, taking the day off before getting back to work on Monday at Missouri Western.

Because the lockout stole their offseason practice and conditioning time, the Chiefs have been moving at a much slower pace in camp than usual. They’ve worked sparingly in pads and contact has been minimal.

The Chiefs had their first camp practice July 29 but several key players couldn’t join until Thursday under NFL rules. So the Chiefs are practicing with groups of players at differing fitness levels.

That’s setting back progress.

“Not having everybody (until Thursday) made it a little tough,” defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. “Now we’ve got numbers. Everybody’s in, but not everybody is at the same (fitness) level.

“The guys who are just getting here, they think they’ve been working but they’re not in football shape. So now they’ve got to try to catch up to the guys who were here early. As soon as we get those guys caught up, everyone will be on equal footing and then we’ll have a chance to make real progress.”

Coach Todd Haley said he wasn’t certain the Chiefs would hold a traditional camp practice, with full pads and a lot of contact, before they break camp in fewer than two weeks.

“I’m hoping,” Haley said. “But we’re still not there yet as a group, and that’s what I really want to feel before we go full bore ahead. I would think that once they get through (today) off that we have a chance to come back and really get a good evaluation of where everybody is.

“… We’re just trying to get the entire team in the (physical condition) where we know we need to be.”

The Chiefs open their preseason schedule Friday against Tampa Bay at Arrowhead Stadium. Haley said the Chiefs won’t rush their timetable to be ready then.

“Our overall focus is Sept. 11 and Buffalo and trying to get that right as far as our progression as a team,” Haley said, speaking of the regular-season opener at Arrowhead Stadium. “If you get ahead of yourself, then you could take two big steps backwards potentially, which is what we cannot afford to do.”

Kicking it off

New NFL rules put the ball at the 35-yard line for kickoffs instead of the 30. Teams will now have a choice when kicking off: kick deep and hope for the touchback or try to pin the opponent with starting field position inside the 20.

Ryan Succop hasn’t displayed the strongest leg on kickoffs since joining the Chiefs two years ago, but he has shown the ability to make a high kickoff, one that allows the team to get down the field and cover.

Succop kicked off once in Saturday’s practice, and with a breeze at his back, he put it out of the end zone.

“We’re excited about Ryan’s skills and how they’ll potentially play into that one way or another, whatever philosophy you take as a kickoff team,” coach Todd Haley said.

Defensive addition

The Chiefs have signed 305-pound defensive lineman Amon Gordon. Gordon played in 17 games with four starts over the last several seasons with the Browns, Broncos, Ravens, Titans and Seahawks.

Gordon gives the Chiefs another body at end, where Glenn Dorsey is missing because of an injury. Gordon joined the Chiefs in time for Saturday’s practice.

The offense
Promising wide receiver Jeremy Horne caught a pair of touchdown passes from Ricky Stanzi near the end of practice. Horne made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone and later made a difficult catch in the end zone between two defenders. … The backup offense was sloppy at one point in the same drill, getting three penalties in a span of four plays. … Ryan Succop made his only field-goal attempt, from 30 yards out.

The defense
Javier Arenas, a 5-foot-9 nickel back, played perfect technique to get into position to break up a fade pass in the end zone intended for 6-1 Verran Tucker. … Linebacker Demorrio Williams intercepted a Tyler Palko pass. … Wallace Gilberry replaced injured Glenn Dorsey as one starting defensive end.

Injury report
Tight end Tony Moeaki is on the physically unable to perform list and did not practice. Dorsey and rookie wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin also did not practice.

Daily battle
Horne will probably not get much, if any, playing time — and that’s if he makes the roster. The Chiefs have four veterans plus Baldwin ahead of him. But Horne is fast and could force the Chiefs to keep him if he continues to make big catches like the ones he made in practice Saturday.

Today’s schedule
The Chiefs are off today and resume training camp Monday at Missouri Western.

91 Saturday’s high temperature in St. Joseph

45 Number of Matt Cassel’s NFL regular-season starts

0 Number of NFL regular-season starts for the other QBs, Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi

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