River Falls Wrap: Day 14


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Jan 22, 2006
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Aug 10, 2006, 8:42:37 PM

Camping with the Chiefs - Day 14

by Josh Looney

Breakdown: Day 14 of Chiefs training camp started with a special teams practice at 10:30 AM on the UW - River Falls practice fields. Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards takes a back seat during special teams sessions and allows special teams coach Mike Priefer to run the practice in a similar fashion that a head coach would run a regular practice session.

Priefer runs his specials teams practices with the same up-tempo and intense pace that Edwards runs the team sessions. Although the club was only on the field for an hour, Priefer’s rapid rate of work enabled the team to work on all facets of the special teams game. Much like Edwards, Priefer throws different scenarios at each unit to simulate a game during practice. It’s common to hear him barking out situations such as, “Dante this is the last play of the half, we want a fair catch,” or “Kickoff cover unit, there are only five seconds left to play, we need a squib kick.”

“We’re going to try and keep the schemes as simple as possible right now and see what our guys can do,” Priefer commented this morning. “We’ve been teaching them techniques and fundamentals since the spring. We’re not going into this preseason with a lot of stuff because mentally we don’t want them thinking about things, we want them to be able to react to everything that’s thrown at them and to play fast.”

Coach Edwards scripted his afternoon practice to simulate a game as much as possible during the regular full-team practice session. He took his players through different game scenarios such as the offense coming on the field after a kickoff, calling for the punt team after a third down, bringing in the field goal unit and running through various personnel packages. Edwards even had the players line up on the sideline to simulate the National Anthem.

“We went through a practice using a game-like situation,” Edwards explained. “I thought it was good, not only for the players, but for our staff. This is the first time we’ll be together as a staff. For the most part, the unknown is always tough to deal with.”

Total Access: Camping With The Chiefs (Video), a program hosted by Patrick Herb on KCChiefs.com, filmed Thursday’s special teams practice with a wireless microphone attached to special teams coach Mike Priefer. Clips of the practice, accompanied by Priefer’s comments should air next week. Keep checking the program daily to watch what goes down on the field at a Chiefs training camp practice.

New Chief in River Falls: With two of the team’s four quarterbacks likely unavailable for Saturday’s preseason opener at Houston, Carl Peterson announced the signing of QB Jeff Smoker on Thursday afternoon.

The former Michigan State standout comes to the Chiefs after spending the past two seasons St. Louis and Philadelphia. He originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft choice of the Rams in 2004. Smoker practiced with the squad on Thursday afternoon and could see action as soon as Saturday in Houston.

“Been in the system, been in a camp,” Edwards answered when asked why the club chose Smoker. “Those two things are a factor for us right now. If (Printers) is playing the fourth quarter and he’s spent, yeah, we’ll put him out there. He can go out there. We’ll give him a couple of plays.”

Why River Falls?: For 16 seasons the Kansas City Chiefs have packed up Arrowhead Stadium and called the Northwoods home for several weeks in August. Why? Cooler weather and limited team distractions surely make up part of the rationale, but a main reason Chiefs President Carl Peterson continues to lead his troops northward is to develop team chemistry.

River Falls, a scenic river town of roughly 13,000 people, is the perfect place for a football team to grow together. There’s not much else to do at an isolated location hundreds of miles away from home other than hang out with your teammates. Whether it’s going to meetings, lifting weights, eating lunch or catching a movie at the single-screen theater, players have an opportunity to bond. It’s easy to see that relationships form and teams come together during camp.

A perfect example are rookie defensive backs S Jarrad Page and S Bernard Pollard. The two are practically inseperable, they run drills together, eat together, walk off the field together and even sign autographs together. An objective of any training camp whether it’s professional, college or high school is to get an entire team to play together as one to obtain a common goal and River Falls serves that purpose.

“I’ve always thought training camp was an important part of team building,” QB Trent Green commented. “Training camp is probably more important just from a team building standpoint. I think when you’re going through the physical and mental part of training camp, maybe leaning on the guy that’s at your position, the other guys on the team being able to vent, having teammates to vent to, building those relationships with your coaches when there’s something going on, the communication part of it both good and bad. I think the team part of it, the team building process is probably the most important part of training camp.”

“When you go in after practice now, everybody’s in there working out,” Green continued. “In the past you would lift with your groups, but now you go in there after practice and everybody’s hanging out whether they are doing some extra cardio or core work or lifting weights. You have more guys as a team hanging out and I think all those types of things are beneficial. That’s all just part of the team building process. From the meetings standpoint, we have a lot of meetings, but we’re not just meeting because we happen to have a couple of free hours to throw meetings in. The guys are getting more of an opportunity to get to know one another.”

Look Who’s Talking: “That’s not good and I have a standard deal: we don’t call timeouts in the first and third quarter. We don’t do that. That’s not an option for us.“
- Herm Edwards on his policy about the offense burning a timeout because the play clock is winding down.

Injury Report: QB Damon Huard will not play in Saturday’s game at Houston after suffering a sprained foot during practice on Monday.

*River Falls Weather:
Temperature: 82 degrees
Heat Index: 85 degrees

*Kansas City Weather:
Temperature: 90 degrees
Heat Index: 94 degrees

*Temperatures are recorded after each morning practice.

A Look Ahead: Friday is a travel day for the Chiefs as they will depart for Houston on Friday. The club departs River Falls late morning and will fly out of Minneapolis – St. Paul in the afternoon.
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