Musings from up North


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Jan 22, 2006
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Musings from up north
Here are my final thoughts on Chiefs training camp:

•Standing next to him, I was stunned by Tamba Hali’s smallish frame. He looks like a linebacker, not much more imposing than Kendrell Bell. Hali is a couple of inches taller than Bell, but he lacks Bell’s thickness.

Hali’s build reminds me of Derrick Thomas’. Unfortunately, Hali’s first step isn’t nearly as explosive as the Chiefs’ all-time sack leader.

On draft day, Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson insisted that Hali could play inside over a guard. They left you with the impression that Hali could be a poor man’s John Randle, an explosive, undersized defensive tackle in the early 1990s. I don’t know if Hali can match Randle’s power.

•This will come as no surprise, but I left training camp believing Ty Law will be dominant this season. He’s in fantastic condition. He’s much leaner than a year ago, weighing 204 pounds.

•Tight end Jason Dunn has a legendary reputation for running late to meetings. Herm Edwards believes he’s fixed the problem. He had a long chat with Dunn during the offseason and challenged the veteran to become more disciplined when it comes to timeliness.

“He hasn’t been late to a thing,” Edwards told me. “You just have to make the players accountable.”

•Given the importance of safety play in the Cover 2 scheme, this is a crazy statement: Rookies Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page could be KC’s starting safeties by November.

Edwards and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham are not trying to motivate incumbents Sammy Knight and Greg Wesley by hyping the Chiefs’ rookie safeties.

The coaches like Knight’s veteran savvy. They’re just concerned he doesn’t have the foot speed to stop receivers from getting behind him. All of KC’s linebackers and corners can outrun Knight.

Wesley’s problem is he’s lost the thirst to be a headhunter. Pollard and Page can run and they love to hit. That combination might get them in the lineup together way ahead of schedule.

•Everyone’s worried about KC’s new offensive tackles. I’m concerned about KC’s old offensive guards. Brian Waters and Will Shields, the best guard combo in the league, might start the season slowly because they won’t get enough practice time working with the new OTs.

Playing offensive line is like synchronized swimming. You can’t practice by yourself and get good. You have to work together as a unit. It’s different from a receiver or corner missing practice time.

•New running back Michael Bennett scored major points with the local media by politely answering questions and saying “thank you” at the conclusion of his mini press conference the day after signing.

The dude came across like one of the nicest people on earth. When he walked away, several reporters commented on his demeanor. We’re easy to impress. Athletes should remember that. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get us to sing your praises.

•If KC’s defensive tackles do anything, Kawika Mitchell will put together a Pro Bowl-type season. He might not earn a trip to Honolulu because he lacks the necessary reputation.

Derrick Johnson should have a great season, too.

The coaches are convinced that Kendrell Bell will be a big-time play-maker in the new scheme. Bell runs as well as any Kansas City linebacker. I’m not sure his arthritic shoulders will allow him to make plays. I’ll withhold judgment on Bell until we see him in some exhibition games.

Bell’s performance isn’t make or break because Keyaron Fox is KC’s “fourth” starting linebacker.

•After back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, receiver Eddie Kennison has a right to feel underpaid. He also needs to realize that the poor decisions he made early in his career are the reason he won’t earn what he could’ve and should’ve earned during his NFL career. At age 33, Kennison doesn’t have the leverage to force the Chiefs into a big payday.

The decisions you make in your youth can either haunt or enhance the rest of your life.

•I received the following e-mail from Kyle Turley’s mom:

“Thanks for the great article about Kyle Turley, Jason. I tried to get more color in him. I laid him out on the beach summer after summer and it just never worked. I’m praying for a great Chiefs season with Kyle on the front lines right through January!”

Kathy Turley
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