The Kansas City Chiefs are in the midst of training camp at their new facility in St. Joseph, Missouri. The fans can see practice standing just a few yards from the field so I think, for a fan, this is a great setup.
It also allows the fans to see a different side of the players and the coaches. With that in mind, here's the top five fan favorites at Chiefs training camp this year.
5. Todd Haley
My how times have changed from last year when Haley was the bad guy.
I'm not saying he's all of a sudden a better coach but the perception of him is different. I think both the fans and the players are starting to understand him more.
During practice he's very vocal with some choice words for the players at times.
When a player does something stupid, or shows off to the fans (Dwayne Bowe and Dexter McCluster one day), he calls them out in front of everyone. Remember, the fans can hear anytime he yells.
Coming off the Herm Edwards era in which the players were perceived to be soft, Haley has gotten the fans (in training camp at least) on his side with his tough attitude.
4. Eric Berry
Big position of need + No. 1 draft choice = fan favorite.
That formula didn't necessarily work with Tyson Jackson last year but it has for Eric Berry, who has drawn quite a few cheers in his first few days of Chiefs training camp.
Part of it is that he plays a "sexy" position that delivers a lot of hits and potentially interceptions. People like to see his athleticism and they really feel that he's going to be one of, if not the biggest piece of the defense moving forward.
In a two-minute drill situation this week, Berry knocked down a fourth down Matt Cassel pass that drew the biggest cheers of the day.
To boot, he stays after practice as long as anyone signing autographs so that's an easy way to become a fan favorite.
3. Dwayne Bowe
Bowe's always been a fan-favorite in camp settings where he can interact with the fans closely but this year it's being stepped up a notch because he's among the best in camp right now.
I saw some fans yelling "Hey, it's The Show!" and Bowe turned around and said something to them. He kept looking back at the coaches, presumably to make sure they weren't noticing him talking to the fans.
On Sunday, he caught a touchdown pass and dropped the ball and posed to fans. Later, he did some sort of choreographed celebration with Dexter McCluster only to have Todd Haley tell them to cut it out.
Bowe's fast start to camp is the biggest reason fans are liking him right now. If he came out slow and dropped a lot of balls, I could easily see him on the least favorite list.
2. Charlie Weis
A strange pick as a fan favorite, no?
Well, you obviously haven't been out to Chiefs training camp.
I can't repeat everything Weis has said on the practice field. Actually, I have to replace some words to repeat any of it but Weis alone is worth the trip.
You've got several thousand fans lining the edge of the field and since Weis is in a motorized scooter (bad knee) he's off to the side and has to yell just about everything.
And the fans hear it all.
"You're 0-for-August, Palko!"
1. Dexter McCluster
This was one tough. He and Bowe are up there, as far as the players are concerned, but I'm going to go with McCluster.
Kendrick Lewis called McCluster a "jitterbug" when talking about him the other day. I'm not sure if that's accurate. How fast is a jitterbug?
McCluster stops on a dime and, with his size, you can already tell he'll be difficult to tackle. "You have to catch him first," one of his teammates said of him.
He's like that player in Madden who is so much better than he should because he's small, fast and hard to tackle. When he gets his hands on the ball, the fans have to hold their breath because they feel he can score from anywhere.
More than even Eric Berry, I hear fans talking about and asking about McCluster.