Chiefs’ defense ends offseason program in style
Matt Cassel misfired on a couple of throws, and the Kansas City
defense stuffed the offense during a mock 2-minute drill that ended
with a missed field goal Thursday – an ominous conclusion to the
Chiefs’ mandatory three-day minicamp.
Unless, of course, you were wearing the red jerseys of the
”Hey, offense sells tickets, they win games, but defense wins
championships,” said former Oakland Raiders cornerback Stanford
Routt, who signed with the Chiefs in the offseason. ”That’s the
way football’s always been.”
The haphazard performance by the Chiefs’ offense on a steamy
June morning notwithstanding, coach Romeo Crennel said he was
pleased with Kansas City’s entire offseason program.
The Chiefs had near-perfect attendance during voluntary
workouts, with the only significant player absent for the duration
being wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. He has yet to sign his franchise
tender, which means he was also exempt from the mandatory
The flotilla of guys who missed nearly all of last season due to
injury appeared to have made headway in their rehab. Pro Bowl
safety Eric Berry missed minicamp due to family issues, but tight
end Tony Moeaki and All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles were
itching to get back on the field.
All three of them tore the ACL in their left knee by Week 2 last
Linebacker Brandon Siler didn’t even make it that far – he tore
his Achilles tendon during training camp. But even he was able to
participate almost fully in offseason workouts.
”I feel like we’ve made progress during the offseason,” said
Crennel, who took over for the fired Todd Haley on an interim basis
last season, and then was given the full-time job.
”I’m encouraged by the installation of the offense,
installation of the special teams, and defensively we looked at
some things we don’t normally do, so I was encouraged there.”
The Chiefs made plenty of headway in learning the system run by
new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, even though more than one
player acknowledged during offseason workouts that their ”head was
spinning” trying to pick up the terminology and scheme.
Fortunately for the rookies, they at least had that opportunity
The group of players coming out of last year’s draft were
basically handed a playbook and sent on their way because of the
NFL lockout. In many cases, they arrived at camp in August and were
out of shape physically or grossly behind in learning their team’s
Sometimes they were both.
”I had these guys around me helping me out, so it wasn’t bad
for me,” said defensive tackle Dontari Poe, the Chiefs’
first-round draft pick. ”You just come in here the first couple
days and it was a lot to go in, let alone go out there in full pads
for full-on training camp.
”I’m glad I’m coming in a year after the lockout.”
The lockout may have set back last year’s crop of rookies, but
wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin – the Chiefs’ first-round pick in
2011 – appeared to have caught up during minicamp.
Baldwin got off to a slow start after hurting his hand during a
locker-room incident with departed running back Thomas Jones. But
he came on late in the year, and has showed over the past few weeks
the playmaking potential the Chiefs saw out of him in college.
It’s helped his cause that Bowe remains a no-show.
Baldwin took virtually every snap with the first-team offense
while Bowe waits to sign his tender. Bowe has said he’ll be on the
field when Kansas City reports to camp in St. Joseph, Mo., late
next month, but he’s already fallen behind in learning the new
Make no mistake, Bowe provides the big-play potential that the
Kansas City offense could have used during its mock 2-minute drill
at the conclusion of Thursday’s practice.
Even though players weren’t wearing pads, they were still going
close to full speed, giving the first real glimpse at how things
are shaping up for next season. Cassel was off target on a few
throws, and the defense managed to blanket Baldwin and wide
receiver Steve Breaston.
When kicker Ryan Succop trotted onto the field, he yanked his
attempt wide left.
The backup offense fared little better behind quarterback Ricky
Stanzi. His completion to rookie wide receiver Aaron Weaver
resulted in Weaver being tackled in bounds, and the game clock
expiring before the offense could get off another play.
A disappointing way to end an otherwise successful offseason
program? Only if you’re looking at things from the offensive side
of the ball.
”That’s what the game is all about. Somebody has to leave here
that way,” Breaston said. ”At the end of the season our defense
was one of the best out there, so I hope they do that every game
this year. We’ll be all right.”