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DeepSouth
05-18-2005, 07:54 AM
http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2005/05/18/gretz_postcard_from_ota/

I heard one of the radio tin-throats the other day say that interest in the Chiefs was done this season because they only had 95 percent renewal of season tickets, compared to past seasons when the number was closer to 98 or 99 percent.



That guy wasnít at the Chiefs first OTA practice session of the off-season on Tuesday at the Truman Sports Complex. But a bunch of his buddies were; it was a media horde seldom seen in these parts just to watch the team run around in their underwear. If what the scribblers, hairdos and tin-throats cover is any indication of what the public wants to see and hear Ė and there are times that itís not Ė then interest in Kansas Cityís football team remains quite high, if not fanatical.

Since Iíve always been a bandwagon guy, let me join the parade and give you a report from OTA #1: 71 guys ran around in t-shirts, shorts and helmets and tried to get their football legs.

More analysis than that is purely subjective. Remember, this isnít really football, since there is no tackling or hitting. WR Richard Smith may not believe that, since he went down when he took a knee in his thigh from a safety while going up for a pass. He was taken off the field on a cart and the injury was more painful than long-term serious. But there is not supposed to be that kind of contact.

Here are a few other tidbits on what these tired old eyes saw on Dick Vermeilís practice field:

DEFENSE: all defensive hands save one were on deck. Veteran S Jerome Woods was missing, but heís expected to arrive soon. Starting assignments in mid-May are meaningless, so take this for what itís worth, but the first linebackers were Kawika Mitchell in the middle, Kendrell Bell at right linebacker and second-year man Keyaron Fox on the left side.

Thatís right, No. 1 choice Derrick Johnson was not in the starting lineup. No surprise there; hey, the kid has to earn the job, which he will likely do by the first week of September. Second linebackers were Johnson, rookie Boomer Grigsby in the middle and veteran Quinton Caver.

Plus, Eric Warfield has moved to right cornerback and Patrick Surtain is working on the left side. Thatís where Surtain played at Miami. Warfield has primarily been on the left side with the Chiefs.

Also, Gary Stills is back at linebacker, after spending several years as an under-sized defensive end. He was working with the third team. So was William Bartee, but he was at safety, not cornerback. Remember, Bartee played most of his college career at safety. Greg Wesley started at safety with Sammy Knight. Even if Woods had been on the field, he would not have worked with the first base defense.

Injuries kept DE Jimmy Wilkerson, LBs Scott Fujita, Shawn Barber and Mike Maslowski and CB Benny Sapp on the sidelines. Veteran CB Dexter McCleon did some of the individual drills, but none of the team work.

One thing was very evident in this session: explosion and speed have increased. Itís visible in the way Bell moves when the ball is in the air and heís got a clear shot at the receiver. It can be seen in Fox and how he moved around the field. Wesley looked faster and quicker. Surtain, well you can see this isnít his first rodeo, even though he was beaten on a throw by Trent Green in the blitz period. It took the perfect pass to do make the play work.

OFFENSE: there were some missing pieces of the puzzle here, especially on the offensive line. Starters Willie Roaf, Will Shields and Brian Waters were missing, as was TE Tony Gonzalez, WR Johnnie Morton and RB Priest Holmes. The surprise there was Waters, as Vermeil said he didnít know when to expect his left guard to show up. Roaf, Shields and Gonzalez are unlikely to take part in the OTA on-field work. Holmes will see minimal action and Morton has been told to stay home in California. Thatís a rather obvious precursor to his eventual dispatch from the roster.

Watching the work because of injury were WRs Marc Boerigter and Chris Horn.

Green threw the ball around like this was practice No. 50, not No. 1. He connected with Eddie Kennison on a long pass play, found that blitz pickup against Surtain and threw a laser to Dante Hall down the middle of the field.

Some of the newer faces struggled, which is nothing unusual. Draft choice Craphonso Thorpe dropped a catchable jump ball and then got knocked to the ground by a linebacker on a short crossing pattern; neither one of those things can happen when the games are real. TE Kris Wilson had a nice catch down the seam, but only after he was given a free release off the line of scrimmage; that drew the ire of Gunther Cunningham who told his defense to ďjam the *%$#@*.Ē

Phobia
05-18-2005, 07:59 AM
The surprise there was Waters, as Vermeil said he didnít know when to expect his left guard to show up.

Scary. Who is his agent?

DeepSouth
05-18-2005, 08:01 AM
Scary. Who is his agent?
You thinking he might be trying to renegotiate?

Phobia
05-18-2005, 08:03 AM
You thinking he might be trying to renegotiate?

He signed a longterm contract pretty cheaply 2 years ago. Plus he made a pro-bowl and was widely acknowledged as one of the best Gs in the NFL all year. Vermeil doesn't know where he is nor why he's gone.

I'd say holdout is pretty likely.

milkman
05-18-2005, 08:07 AM
It's only OTA in May, but I find it interesting that Fox was working with the #1 unit at LOLB.

keg in kc
05-18-2005, 08:11 AM
It's only OTA in May, but I find it interesting that Fox was working with the #1 unit at LOLB.I don't think there's any doubt Johnson will win the job, but maybe Fox is out of the doghouse. I figure it's probably more of an "ease him in" think for DJ, but better play from Fox is great for depth.

Rain Man
05-18-2005, 08:18 AM
Moving Bartee to safety can't hurt.

NewChief
05-18-2005, 08:24 AM
He signed a longterm contract pretty cheaply 2 years ago. Plus he made a pro-bowl and was widely acknowledged as one of the best Gs in the NFL all year. Vermeil doesn't know where he is nor why he's gone.

I'd say holdout is pretty likely.

Yeah. It's weird. I'd heard both Roaf and Shields names kicked around by certain people as grumbling about their contracts, but Waters wasn't mentioned at all.

milkman
05-18-2005, 08:26 AM
I don't think there's any doubt Johnson will win the job, but maybe Fox is out of the doghouse. I figure it's probably more of an "ease him in" think for DJ, but better play from Fox is great for depth.

Yeah, I figured it mean't he was out of the doghouse, but I kinda hope that when things shake out in TC, Fox will stand out and make such an impression that the Chiefs feel that he needs to be on the field, moving Bell to the middle, with Fox on the left and DJ on the right.

I know that Kawika has potential, but I just have very little faith that he'll realize it.

I also feel that Bell in the middle will do more to improve the LBing as a whole than Bell on the outside, with Kawika in the middle.

DeepSouth
05-18-2005, 08:35 AM
Yeah. It's weird. I'd heard both Roaf and Shields names kicked around by certain people as grumbling about their contracts, but Waters wasn't mentioned at all.
I've heard about Roaf's bum knees and Shield's arthritic problems but nothing about them being unhappy with thieir contracts.

keg in kc
05-18-2005, 08:38 AM
I know that Kawika has potential, but I just have very little faith that he'll realize it.

I also feel that Bell in the middle will do more to improve the LBing as a whole than Bell on the outside, with Kawika in the middle.Well, there's another school of thought on this, too, that maybe having Bell and Johnson on the outside will have a positive impact on Mitchell's game. The guy had 29 total tackles the last 3 weeks of the '04 season playing between Beisel and Fujita, who, love 'em as I might, simply aren't in the same league in terms of talent and athleticism.

I think he deserves a shot. One of Gunther's signature sayings is that it takes 3-4 years to really 'get it' at linebacker. This is year three. If he doesn't win the job by September, he doesn't win the job, but I don't see a reason to write him off yet. I say give the guy a chance.

Either way, let's see how it fleshes out this in TC and the preseason. I don't really pick favorites, I hope to just see the best guys on the field who give us the best chance to win.

NewChief
05-18-2005, 08:39 AM
I've heard about Roaf's bum knees and Shield's arthritic problems but nothing about them being unhappy with thieir contracts.

Actually, I'm wrong about Shields being unhappy about his contract. He was actually unhappy with what the organization did last year to improve the defense. He wasn't going to come back for another year unless the organization showed that they were really committed to improvement.

Willie, though, definitely was grumbling about his contract, but my understanding is that the grumbling is over and he's committed.

Not sure what's going on with Brian.

milkman
05-18-2005, 08:46 AM
Well, there's another school of thought on this, too, that maybe having Bell and Johnson on the outside will have a positive impact on Mitchell's game. The guy had 29 total tackles the last 3 weeks of the '04 season playing between Beisel and Fujita, who, love 'em as I might, simply aren't in the same league in terms of talent and athleticism.

I think he deserves a shot. One of Gunther's signature sayings is that it takes 3-4 years to really 'get it' at linebacker. This is year three. If he doesn't win the job by September, he doesn't win the job, but I don't see a reason to write him off yet. I say give the guy a chance.

Either way, let's see how it fleshes out this in TC and the preseason. I don't really pick favorites, I hope to just see the best guys on the field who give us the best chance to win.

All I want is the best 3 LBs on the field, as well.
My concern, even with Bell and Johnson flanking him, is that Kawaika has to be the captain, the guy making the defensive calls, and that's where my faith in his ability to step up is really tested.

Fact is, I like the combination of size, speed, and athleticism that Kawika has.
It's the intelligience, or lack thereof, that he's displayed that has me really worried.

Skip Towne
05-18-2005, 08:47 AM
Moving Bartee to safety can't hurt.
Moving him just outside the front gate would be better.

DeepSouth
05-18-2005, 08:47 AM
Not sure what's going on with Brian.
I've never considered the possibility, but Phobia could be on to something. Since Phobia speculated about it here, it'll show up in print somewhere (Ethan Allan) tomorrow.

TEX
05-18-2005, 09:10 AM
He signed a longterm contract pretty cheaply 2 years ago. Plus he made a pro-bowl and was widely acknowledged as one of the best Gs in the NFL all year. Vermeil doesn't know where he is nor why he's gone.

I'd say holdout is pretty likely.

Yep. There's ALWAYS got to be something.

Coogs
05-18-2005, 09:24 AM
It's only OTA in May, but I find it interesting that Fox was working with the #1 unit at LOLB.

I thought the BB had declared Fox a bust who wouldn't even make the roster this year. Didn't Gun get that message? :)

C-Mac
05-18-2005, 09:43 AM
TE Kris Wilson had a nice catch down the seam, but only after he was given a free release off the line of scrimmage; that drew the ire of Gunther Cunningham who told his defense to ďjam the *%$#@*.Ē

Dont you just love it!
Second day, not even in pads yet and Gun's in there face.

Dave Lane
05-18-2005, 10:58 AM
I've heard about Roaf's bum knees and Shield's arthritic problems but nothing about them being unhappy with thieir contracts.

Agreed that was the issue with them.

Dave

Dave Lane
05-18-2005, 10:59 AM
Well, there's another school of thought on this, too, that maybe having Bell and Johnson on the outside will have a positive impact on Mitchell's game. The guy had 29 total tackles the last 3 weeks of the '04 season playing between Beisel and Fujita, who, love 'em as I might, simply aren't in the same league in terms of talent and athleticism.

I think he deserves a shot. One of Gunther's signature sayings is that it takes 3-4 years to really 'get it' at linebacker. This is year three. If he doesn't win the job by September, he doesn't win the job, but I don't see a reason to write him off yet. I say give the guy a chance.

Either way, let's see how it fleshes out this in TC and the preseason. I don't really pick favorites, I hope to just see the best guys on the field who give us the best chance to win.


Actually I thought he looked very good at the end of the season. Not Ray Lewis good or anything but very solid.

Dave

Mike in SW-MO
05-18-2005, 11:56 AM
If Bartee is getting snaps at safety, I presume that he will be at free safety. That puts him competing with Woods and Pile for the free spot. I presume that Wesley will be baking up at strong. Although that may not be the case.

keg in kc
05-18-2005, 12:13 PM
If Bartee is getting snaps at safety, I presume that he will be at free safety. That puts him competing with Woods and Pile for the free spot. I presume that Wesley will be baking up at strong. Although that may not be the case.Everything that I've heard/read is that they're playing Wesley at free safety. One radio station this morning said that Wesley would still have been on the field as the starting FS if Woods had been there. Whether that's a valid statement or not I can't say. Lately I've also been hearing that the team's been very happy with his work this offseason.


Frankly, in any case, he's (meaning Wesley) paid too much to be a backup. Which is why I think either he or Woods is a June 1 cut; it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to pay three safeties starting money. And it looks like Woods is the odd man out.

htismaqe
05-18-2005, 05:19 PM
Everything that I've heard/read is that they're playing Wesley at free safety. One radio station this morning said that Wesley would still have been on the field as the starting FS if Woods had been there. Whether that's a valid statement or not I can't say. Lately I've also been hearing that the team's been very happy with his work this offseason.


Frankly, in any case, he's (meaning Wesley) paid too much to be a backup. Which is why I think either he or Woods is a June 1 cut; it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to pay three safeties starting money. And it looks like Woods is the odd man out.

I think people are being thrown off by the Sammy Knight quotes...

Rausch
05-18-2005, 05:26 PM
Also, Gary Stills is back at linebacker, after spending several years as an under-sized defensive end. He was working with the third team.

I'd love to see him sneak in and steal a LB spot. High motor and good tackler. I figured him for more of an OLB than MLB, but there's no way he see's any time at OLB.

milkman
05-18-2005, 05:53 PM
I'd love to see him sneak in and steal a LB spot. High motor and good tackler. I figured him for more of an OLB than MLB, but there's no way he see's any time at OLB.

Next to Bartee, Stills at DE is the most useless piece of crap on the field on D.
I always thought he was more of a LB type than DE, but the move now may be too late.

whoman69
05-18-2005, 06:34 PM
Woods played last year like he was out there to earn that final big signing bonus. At this point its pretty safe to say he has to play his way back into the lineup, and if he doesn't then his signing bonus become his retirement money.
The Bartee experiment at CB should have ended about three years ago if not sooner. The last year he was starter, 2002, he was consistently burned and not a threat to get an INT. Its going to be hard for him to earn a spot this year at safety. If they had done this last year, he may have worked himself into the starting lineup.
Still is another that played DE only on passing downs as a speed rusher and was not as good as other players getting to the QB. With the lack of depth we have at LB and his talent for ST, there is no reason to believe he can't make this team.
Its been said we have an old offense. If we have enough talent from our younger receivers to replace Morton and Kennison, that does quite a bit to make them younger. Barring injury I believe Parker has already signed Morton's goodbye papers. If Boe can get back, or if Horn or Smith can pick up their games then Kennison may not be safe either. Kennison certainly had enough drops in important situations last year that he's not safe.