River Falls Wrap: Day 7


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Jan 22, 2006
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Aug 03, 2006, 7:54:07 PM

Camping with the Chiefs - Day 7

by Josh Looney

Breakdown: Herm Edwards’ squad was able to work today in their first morning practice since Monday (7/31) in River Falls. The Chiefs reported to their 9:00 AM practice in new venue, holding a shells (helmets and shoulder pads) practice at UW - River Falls’ football stadium, Ramer Field, instead of their usual setting at the university’s practice fields. When asked why he held practice in the stadium today, Edwards answered, “Because we’re going to perform in the stadium tomorrow (in Mankato, Minnesota) and it’s good to have that kind of atmosphere.”

The Chiefs returned to the UW - River Falls practice fields at 3:45 PM for an afternoon session. Edwards’ squad ran through individual, team and two-minute periods in spiders (helmets and flap-jackets).

The club will not hold a morning practice on Friday optioning for a short team walk-through instead. The Chiefs will depart River Falls at 2:00 PM to take on the Minnesota Vikings in a joint practice at 6:30 PM in Mankato, Minnesota.

Getting To Know You: RB Michael Bennett, who was acquired in a trade with New Orleans on Wednesday, was at practice today wearing a Chiefs uniform for the first time. Bennett spent the AM practice watching the offense and getting a feel for the offensive coordinator Mike Solari’s offensive scheme.

“It’s nice to be back here in Wisconsin practicing,” Bennett commented. “I’ve got a lot of friends and a lot of family up this way. I’m just happy to be a part of a great organization. My thing is I’m going to come in here and do the best that I can and if that’s going to be my role (backing up RB Larry Johnson) then I’ll have to take it. I’ve been in this game going on six years and I’ve had a lot of success. So my thing is just to basically come in here and learn the offense. I’ve got to learn a whole new offense, so it’s kind of like being a rookie again. I’ll just put everything together and get out on the field.”

Time’s Up: Practices conducted by Herm Edwards are much different than those of previous seasons. Edwards’ practice sessions may be shorter than what players are used to, but the head coach demands effort, intensity and an up-tempo pace during his practices.

Edwards uses a variety of clocks at practice to ensure players train at the pace he desires. “We have three different clocks out at practice,” Assistant Equipment Manager Allen Wright explained. “We have a main clock that has the time of each individual session on it. We have a 40-second clock that we utilize in the two-minute drill and use it the same way you would on game day. He (Edwards) has another clock that is a three-second clock. Once the quarterback gets the play, they have three seconds to get to the line and get set. The buzzer is going off all the time to remind them to get to the line of scrimmage with a sense of urgency and with a purpose.”

Players have noticed the difference in practice tempo under Edwards and seem to have bought into Edwards’ system. “We’re practicing so fast that it’s literally conditioning us,” QB Damon Huard remarked. “The clocks simulate more of a game-like experience. I think Coach Edwards wants to get us in the huddle, out of the huddle, on the line of scrimmage, get the ball snapped and just get things running. We’re running just as many plays, but we’re running them faster.”

Tony Gonzalez is a believer in Edwards’ practice plan, as well. “I love it,” Gonzalez said after Wednesday’s PM practice. “The way Coach Edwards runs things, this is like a dream come true. You can ask any guy on this team, it’s something else.”

CB Ty Law, who played under Edwards last season in New York, knows what can happen if Edwards doesn’t like the effort he sees at practice. “Herm is very high intensity and if you don’t give him the intensity that he wants he will start practice over. So it can turn into one of those long practices if you don’t go out there and perform.”

Zebra Sighting: NFL officials met with players, coaches and media members in River Falls today between practice sessions. NFL Director of Football Operations Larry Upson, referee Bill Levy and his crew talked about rule changes for 2006 and answered questions regarding the new policies.

There are four major rule changes that will take effect for the 2006 NFL season. End zone celebrations will be more restricted. A player is prohibited from using any type of prop or performing any type of act on the ground during a celebration. Choreographed group celebrations are also restricted, but players are still able to spike the ball, spin the ball, dunk the ball through the goalpost, jump into the stands and perform solo dances.

Defenders are now prohibited from hitting a quarterback below the knees (unless they are blocked into the passer). Bengals QB Carson Palmer suffered a knee injury during the playoffs last season on a hit below the knee. That play was one of the reasons the new rule was established for 2006.

Officials are now permitted to review down-by-contact rulings to determine if a player was down before he fumbled and to surmise which team recovered the loose ball. In previous seasons, officials could not reverse these plays because the official had already blown the whistle.

The “horse collar tackle” rule has been expanded. Players were restricted from grabbing a player inside the shoulder pads and dragging them down from behind last season. This season the same rule will apply, but it is now illegal for a player to drag a ball carrier down from behind by his jersey collar as well.

To help protect long snappers, defenses are now restricted from lining up inside of the snapper’s shoulder pads during field goal and extra point tries. Although long snappers are to remain uncovered during field goals and extra points, defenses are still allowed to line up directly over the snapper on punt attempts.

Welcome Back: 2006 Chiefs Hall of Fame inductee DE Neil Smith returned to River Falls on Thursday and chatted with players and staff members on the sideline.

Plays of the Day: (Thursday, August 3, AM practice)
Offense: Offensive coordinator Mike Solari reached into his bag of tricks during the squad’s 11-on-11 team period and it paid off. Rookie free agent RB Derrick Ross took a toss from QB Casey Printers towards the right sideline and handed the ball off to WR Nate Curry on a reverse. Curry took the ball down the left sideline for a nice gain.

Defense: Second-round pick S Bernard Pollard continues to make big plays for Gunther Cunningham’s defense. Pollard picked off an overthrown pass by QB Casey Printers intended for WR Nate Curry on the last play of 11-on-11 drills. Dropping to his knees on the interception, Pollard was able to get back on his feet and gained an additional 10-yards before being pushed out of bounds on the right sideline. Pollard also added several pass breakups earlier in the practice.

Big Hit: During 11-on-11 team drills, rookie free agent LB William Kershaw blitzed hard into the gap between left guard and left tackle, but was met in the hole and upended by fellow rookie free agent G Rudy Niswanger.

(Thursday, August 3, PM Practice)
Offense: During the club’s two-minute drill, QB Trent Green hit a wide open WR Samie Parker on a streak for a 50-yard touchdown.

Defense: LB Kawika Mitchell jumped in front of TE Kris Wilson to pick of a QB Trent Green pass in the end zone during the 7-on-7 period. Rather than take a touchback, Mitchell ran behind a line of defensive lineman before whistles ended the play.

Look Who’s Talking: “I got a really good feeling from Coach Edwards that he’s going to open up the can and let the beans spill out. Hopefully we can go in and get some work done.“
— RB Michael Bennett on the Chiefs practice with Minnesota on Friday

Injury Report: DL Lional Dalton and G Brian Waters were held out of Thursday’s practice.

*River Falls Weather:
Temperature: 82 degrees
Heat Index: 83 degrees

*Kansas City Weather:
Temperature: 80 degrees
Heat Index: 83 degrees

*Temperatures are recorded after each morning practice.

A Look Ahead: On Friday the Chiefs will take a two-hour bus ride to take on the Minnesota Vikings in an NFL team practice starting at 6:30 PM in Mankato, Minnesota. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Vikings.
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