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Old 08-15-2006, 01:46 AM   #5
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RIVER FALLS WRAP: Days 17-18

Aug 14, 2006, 8:12:23 PM

Camping with the Chiefs - Day 18 - Windows Media | Real Video

by Josh Looney



Breakdown: Saturday proved to be long and late as the Chiefs charter flight from Houston touched down in Minneapolis around 2:45 AM Sunday morning. Players, coaches and staff then boarded a slew of charter buses, arriving in River Falls shortly before 4:00 AM. The club enjoyed a much-needed off day on Sunday and will begin a short work week, kicking off their second preseason contest on Thursday night against the New York Giants.

Although the 2006 Kansas City Chiefs opened their preseason schedule with a 24-14 setback in Houston, fans and coaches had a reason to smile when the final whistle blew and the club escaped Reliant Stadium with no injuries. QB Trent Green turned in a solid 2006 preseason debut completing five of six passes for 34 yards. RB Larry Johnson rushed seven times for 30 yards (4.3 avg.) and the first-team offense put together a 13-play, 71-yard touchdown drive on their second series.

Defensively, LB Keyaron Fox had an impressive evening, leading all tacklers with seven stops (five solo). Kansas City’s 2006 seventh-round draft pick S Jarrad Page displayed a solid outing playing both safety and nickel, adding five tackles (four solo). The first defensive unit overcome a short field and gutted out a key third-and-one stop on Houston’s first drive, forcing the Texans to punt.

“I thought in the beginning of the first quarter our first ‘D’ (defense) did a pretty good job of stopping them,” Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards remarked after Saturday’s game. “What I liked about it was our offense rallied back and got it to 7-7. The offensive line did a good job, Larry (Johnson) got started running and was supposed to come out of the game and he wanted to stay in a couple more times. Our offense established the line of scrimmage and knocked them off the ball.”

Edwards canceled the squad’s AM practice session, optioning for meeting time instead. Afternoon practice went on as scheduled with a 3:45 PM session on the UW - River Falls practice fields.

Life’s Good for Hali: What a year 2005 has been for Chiefs first-round draft pick DE Tamba Hali. Hali and his Penn State teammates started off the year winning the 2006 Fed Ex Orange Bowl 26-23 in a bizarre, three-overtime thriller over Florida State. After leading Penn State to its first BCS Bowl win in school history, Hali was named consensus All-America, first-team All-Big Ten and the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year.

In April, Hali joined the Chiefs as the club’s first-round selection (20th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. Hali then signed his first professional football contract just prior to the start of training camp. During the beginning of training camp, the Liberia native left River Falls to return to his home state of New Jersey and returned a U.S. citizen.

Hali’s latest feat occurred last Saturday afternoon in State College, Pennsylvania. He returned to his university campus to walk in Penn State’s graduation ceremony. Hali received his bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting and Journalism.

Position Analysis – Wide Receiver: The 2006 Kansas City Chiefs return all three of their leading wide receivers from the 2005 campaign. WR Eddie Kennison is expected to once again be the club’s featured wide receiver after hauling in a career-best 68 balls for 1,102 yards (16.2 avg.) with five touchdowns. Kennison, an 11-year NFL veteran (sixth with Chiefs), will look to register his third straight 1,000-yard season in 2006.

Joining Kennison in the starting lineup is third-year pro WR Samie Parker. The 2004 fourth-round draft pick logged 36 receptions for 533 yards (14.8 avg.) in 12 games (nine starts) a year ago. Parker, who might be having the best training camp of any Chiefs receiver, is expected to take on a bigger role in the Chiefs offense this season.

“Of the receivers, WR Samie Parker is having the best camp,” QB Trent Green commented. “He’s made some great catches, great strides in terms of his consistency. I thought against Minnesota, in the scrimmage with them going against some different players, he came up with some incredible catches. He’s just really developed very well and for him the biggest thing is going to be staying healthy. It’s been that way a couple of years now, but if he can stay healthy he can definitely be a 1,000-yard receiver and he can put up some big numbers for us.”

In addition to being the club’s punt and kickoff return specialist, two-time Pro Bowl kick returner Dante Hall will also occupy the team’s third wide receiver slot. Hall caught 34 passes for a career-high 435 yards (12.8 avg.) with three touchdowns in 2005. He has totaled 119 receptions for 1,411 yards (11.9 avg) with seven touchdowns in his six-year NFL career.

Gone from 2005 are wide receivers Marc Boerigter (signed with Green Bay) and Chris Horn (signed with New Orleans). The duo’s departure leaves eight players to compete for the club’s fourth wide receiver position.

WR Kyle Brown, a rookie free agent from Michigan State, is putting together a solid training camp. Brown caught 88 passes for 1,329 yards (15.1 avg.) during his three seasons with the Spartans. “A guy who has really stepped up is a guy we added right before camp, WR Kyle Brown,” QB Trent Green said last week. “Every practice you just watch the tape and we’re in our quarterbacks meeting room and you continue to talk about guys. Every time you turn the tape on he’s making a play. So he’s making a big push to not only make the roster or possibly make the practice squad.” Brown will also get an opportunity to return kicks during the preseason.

WR Nate Curry enters his second stint with Kansas City after rejoining the Chiefs as a free agent last winter. The Georgia Tech standout attended training camp in 2005 with the club after originally signing as a rookie free agent. In 2006, Curry appeared in seven games (one start) for the NFL Europe’s Hamburg Sea Devils totaling 18 receptions for 222 yards (12.3 avg.) with a touchdown and returned 14 kickoffs for 391 yards (27.9 avg.). Curry caught one pass for 10 yards, returned two kickoffs for 51 yards (25.5 avg.) and returned a punt for three yards in the preseason opener at Houston.

Rookie free agent WR Chris Hannon, a University of Tennessee product, hopes to win the battle for the club’s fourth wide receiver position. He played in all 46 games (20 starts) for the Volunteers, catching 69 passes for 850 yards (12.3 avg.) and 12 touchdowns. In the first preseason game at Houston, Hannon caught one pass for 44 yards and returned a kickoff for 20 yards.

Fourth-year WR Darrell Hill is also in the mix for the fourth wideout spot despite missing substantial time with a hamstring injury this training camp. Hill has played in 33 career games, all with the Tennessee Titans, and has posted 29 special teams tackles. He missed Saturday’s game due to injury.

NFL Europe veteran Scott McCready joined the Chiefs this past June. The London, England native is regarded as one of the top wideouts in NFLEL history while playing for the Scottish Claymores (2002-03) and the Hamburg Sea Devils (2004-06). McCready ranks second in the history of the NFLEL in both receptions (182) and receiving yards (2,079). He has missed the majority of camp with a shoulder injury and did not play against Houston.

Entering his third training camp with the Chiefs is WR Jeris McIntyre, the club’s sixth-round selection (195th overall) in the 2004 draft. McIntyre has spent the previous two seasons as a member of the Chiefs practice squad. McIntyre is not afraid to make the tough catch over the middle. “Probably the guy who’s stepped up the most is WR Jeris McIntyre,” QB Trent Green commented. “He’s been here the longest, he knows the three different receiver positions and he can fit into any of those three spots the best. He’s probably made the most argument to be the fourth or fifth guy.”

Chiefs 2005 fourth-round draft pick WR Craphonso Thorpe hopes to win the fourth wide receiver job after spending the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad. Thorpe was promoted to the 53-man active roster before last year’s season finale. A former collegiate track star, Thorpe possesses the speed to help in the return game. He has missed a substantial amount of camp with a shoulder injury and did not play at Houston.

Former San Diego State star Jeff Webb, the club’s second 2006 sixth-round draft pick (190th overall), has shown promise during training camp. Webb played in 44 games (30 starts) for the Aztecs, catching 234 passes for 2,890 yards (12.4 avg.) with 20 touchdowns. His 234 career receptions rank second in San Diego State history behind J.R. Tolver. Webb had one catch for four yards against the Texans. “In terms of the younger guys, Chris Hannon, Jeff Webb, those two guys have a lot of talent,” QB Trent Green stated. “Those two guys just need to learn the playbook. They’ve had some mental mistakes, but when they do know where they’re going and what they’re doing they have the fundamentals and the skills to play in this league.”

*Chiefs wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner, a Class of ‘96 NFL Hall of Fame inductee, and WR Eddie Kennison share a place together in NFL record books. After Kennison produced his second straight 1,000-yard season in 2006, he became just the fifth wideout in NFL history to produce his first pair of 1,000-yard seasons in his ninth pro season or later (Kennison, Joiner, Irving Fryar, Don Maynard and J.T. Smith).

Plays of the Day: (Monday, August 14)
Offense: Not missing a beat, head coach Herm Edwards fielded a snap that sailed over QB Jeff Smoker’s head and connected with FB J.R. Niklos on a check down route over the middle.

Defense: Second-year LB Boomer Grigsby made a nice play sniffing out a screen pass. QB Damon Huard looked to dump the screen to RB McKenzi Smith, but Grigsby read the play from the start, darted through the line and broke the pass up in the backfield.

Big Hit: During the 11-on-11 period, rookie free agent RB Derrick Ross took a hand sweep towards the left sideline. The slow developing play turned into a huge collision when Ross cut upfield and was met by S Sammie Knight running the ally at full speed.

Look Who’s Talking: “It’s kind of interesting to watch New York (Giants) play. They did a lot of things on defense (last week) as far as blitzing, so we have to be prepared for that offensively. We’re going into the second game of the season and these guys brought a lot of pressure and a lot of different fronts. We have to be able to deal with that, so we’re going to have a quick study to prepare.“
— Head coach Herm Edwards on the N.Y. Giants

Injury Report: The Chiefs suffered no injuries in their first preseason game at Houston. QB Damon Huard and WR Craphonso Thorpe returned to practice on Monday afternoon.

*River Falls Weather:
Temperature: 81 degrees
Heat Index: 81 degrees

*Kansas City Weather:
Temperature: 77 degrees
Heat Index: 79 degrees

*Temperatures are recorded after each morning practice.

A Look Ahead: The Chiefs are set for one practice Tuesday afternoon at 3:45 PM
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