If I had to describe day two of Kansas City Chiefs training camp in one word it would be: Hot.
Very, very hot. The sun beats down on your all day and there's no good spot to find shade and still see the action. But I suppose that's just part of training camp.
Several players we talked to, including Andy Studebaker and Brandon Flowers, said the crows is really helping things out. In River Falls, you didn't get over 8,000 people in a two-day period so having these fans cheering them on help.
Whenever there's a big play the fans cheer loudly and you know, for the player that made a good play, it motivates them to do even better and for the player who didn't, well, they don't want to be on the wrong end of a bunch of cheers like that again.
Dwayne Bowe at one point caught a nice pass going out of bounds and stopped and posed for the crowd which drew large crowds.
Here are some observations about Chiefs training camp.
Bowe might look the best so far
My pick for the no. 1 performer (overall) so far would be Dwayne Bowe. He's come in with a renewed focus and is catching tough balls. I'm impressed with the way he took to Haley's program. Remember, Bowe spent the last few weeks working at Larry Fitzgerald's camp and Haley said he was getting reports back so that's a good thing.
Offseason Croyle returns
I've noticed a phenomenon developing with Brodie Croyle...people love the offseason Croyle. He's got a heck of an arm and you can tell when he throws -- it zips. However, there's no quarterback controversy here. Matt Cassel has taken every single no. 1 rep and I imagine he will throughout camp. Everyone knows Cassel is the man and these guys don't need any head games at that position. Croyle was off target during Saturday's practices but he does throw a good ball so fans were excited.
Not much to report on Cassel
Matt Cassel looks OK through the first three practices. He's not lighting the world on fire but he's also making sound decisions and throws, which is probably what the Chiefs want. With the Chiefs running backs, I would expect to see a continued emphasis on the run game making Cassel's life easier.
Keep an eye on the running backs
When you say Chiefs running backs, you think Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones or, heck, maybe even Dexter McCluster at times.
But here are two names you might want to remember: Javarris Williams and Kestahn Moore. Williams was a 2009 draft pick and Moore was picked up last season. Both are looking solid in camp. With Charles and Jones ahead of them, they probably know they're not getting much playing time in 2010 but I like the hustle and speed both have shown.
Three straight days with full pads
Last year, I remember being surprised at how often the Chiefs went in full pads. If I recall, it was nearly everyday. The Chiefs have gone the first three practices in all pads this time around. It's hot so don't discount how tough it is after two hours. After practice you can tell these guys are sweating their you-know-what off so this is some hard work.
Maybe the defense is turning around
The defense ended the third practice allowing just one completion on eight attempts. It was at the end of practice when everyone was tired and that's the time the offense usually has the advantage but the quarterbacks were being pressured and the defensive backs were on top of things. Guys like Wallace Gilberry were always around the ball in the nickel formations on Saturday afternoon.
Brian Waters, Dion Gales still out
It was those two and Ikechuku Ndukwe in the "rehab zone" to start camp. Ndukwe is back on the field but both of those players have yet to participate. Haley insinuated Waters had some sort of injury and the speculation is that Gales failed his conditioning test.
Secondary is the strongest position group
Easily. There's no question about it. With or without Eric Berry, this is the strength of the team. If the Chiefs can generate some sort of pass rush (which they can with Tamba Hali), this secondary will be tough. Too bad Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha are in the AFC because Brandon Flowers should be in the Pro Bowl conversation.
Thomas Jones is the no. 1 back so far
Thomas Jones has been lining up with the first team at running back. Jamaal Charles is being rotated in but this is a position group that could get interesting. With guys like Kestahn Moore and Javarris Williams suddenly making an impact there will be some competition so far.
Rudy over Casey through three practices
Rudy Niswanger has been running with the first team through the first two days. He's competing against Casey Wiegmann, the 37-year old veteran. This is a position battle that will go down to the wire as well. I imagine Wiegmann gets first team action soon enough. It'll be hard to beat him out.
Inside linebacker same as last year
Just like last year, Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays are running with the first team at inside linebacker. Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher are with the twos. After practice when the players are walking to the locker room, you can tell DJ is a fan favorite. I know who the fans want to win this battle.
Wildcat in the news
The Chiefs focused on some wildcat Saturday morning. Guys like Dexter McCluster, Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles received direct snaps. This will be a fun season if that's going to be part of their offense. McCluster told us after practice that it's just about creating mismatches with the defense. With Charles and McCluster, I think they can do that.
Autographs, autographs, autographs
Lots of autographs going on here in St. Joe. After practice, the fans line this walkway with signs and they're hootin' and hollerin' as the players come by. Cassel has signed every day as have a few others. The Chiefs have done a good job getting the fans involved. I bet there are 10-12 players signing everyday.
Eric Berry, Eric Berry, Eric Berry
That's my attempt at an Eric Berry chant. After Berry's first practice Saturday morning, he was pulled off to the side for some media interviews and presented himself well. He said Friday's practice was the first he's missed in his entire life. He even apologized to his teammates. On Saturday afternoon, he was one of the last players to come off the field and there was quickly an "Eric Berry" chant going on.
Madden '11 here I come
I'm excited for this game to come out for one reason: Charles and McCluster in the same backfield. Video game success is predicated on speed and both these guys are off the charts. Get them in the same backfield and you've got a Madden dream.
The rookies are no Dez Bryant
Several rookies have been seen carrying the pads and helmets of the vets as part of the rookie "hazing" process. Eric Berry carried Dwayne Bowe's pads and Maurice Leggett's helmet. Kendrick Lewis had an extra set of pads. Cameron Sheffield carried what looked like Jovan Belcher's pads.