Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

As each practice day goes past, more and more of coordinator Brian Daboll's offense system comes into view. It's a scheme that's not easy to characterize or pigeon-hole. So far at least, it seems to be heavy on one-back, two tight-end sets, and when they go three wide one of those receivers is Dexter McCluster working out of the clutch. The running game will be the major element in the offense, not only for those yards but to set up the passing game with play action. Daboll's quarterbacks were not throwing the ball down the field much, but instead were getting short patterns to the tight ends and backs.

It will be a complementary, game-plan oriented attack each week, with the engine of the offense being the running game.

Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi are fighting for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind starter Matt Cassel. The Chiefs would love to say the first 10 days of camp featured a great battle between Quinn and Stanzi, but that hasn't been the case. Both quarterbacks have struggled and neither has been consistent throwing the ball. Quinn seldom goes downfield with his throws, while Stanzi's decision making has been very inconsistent. As he showed during his brief starting career with Cleveland, Quinn is also likely to leave the pocket more often than not when he feels pressure. In throwing the ball, Stanzi has been wildly inconsistent throughout the camp practices and tends to force throws into tight spaces when he feels pressure.

Second-year wide receiver Jon Baldwin has gotten off to a fast start in his second training camp, certainly a lot different than his 2011 camp that eventually was brought to a halt when he suffered a broken thumb in a locker-room fight with teammate Thomas Jones. It led to a miserable rookie season for the first-round draft choice. He's bounced back in this camp showing he's in better shape both mentally and physically and continues to take advantage of extra practice reps with the first unit due to the absence of franchise player Dwayne Bowe. Throughout the offseason and now into the preseason, Baldwin has been making the type of acrobatic catches the Chiefs expected last season.

First-round draft choice nose tackle Dontari Poe continues to see most of his practice snaps in the sub-defense against the pass. That seems to be a better fit for Poe's natural aggressiveness than the two-gap, nose tackle in the base 34 defense. ... Second-round offensive lineman Jeff Allen continues has been impressive in picking up the guard position after playing tackle at Illinois; he's looked especially good in pass protection. ... Third-round OT Donald Stephenson has struggled in pass protection and coaches are working hard on his fundamentals. ... Fourth-round wide receiver Devon Wylie is starting to show off his speed and show up more often in the practices. ... Among the undrafted free agents, WR Josh Bellamy has been the most impressive performer so far.


--QB Matt Cassel has spent a lot of time in training camp working on fundamentals, especially his footwork and especially throwing the ball while moving. Coordinator Brian Daboll's offense appears to favor quarterback rollouts and bootlegs and that's not something Cassel has done well in his NFL career.

--OLB Andy Studebaker has had a very good training camp, but knows the chances of getting on the field for extensive defensive play are not good. He's the No. 1 replacement behind Pro Bowler Tamba Hali and ascending second-year man Justin Houston. Special teams will have to be the field where he gets his opportunities.

--LG Ryan Lilja has been getting some work in practice at center. Right now the Chiefs do not have an interior blocker that has NFL experience at any position, let alone center. If starter Rodney Hudson were to go down to injury, it appears Lilja is the guy that's going to step in.

--CB Stanford Routt continues to make the transition from the Oakland defense where he played press coverage on every snap, to the Chiefs defense where he's seeing a lot of man-to-man, but not at the same levels. Routt led the NFL in penalties last year and it's a constant battle for him and the Chiefs coaches to make sure he stays disciplined in his techniques to avoid the flags.

--WR Dexter McCluster continues to be shuttled back and forth between wide receiver and running back. As a rookie, he was listed in the backfield during the 2010 season. Then last year, he was a receiver on the depth chart. Now this year, he's worked exclusively at receiver, even though he's listed as a running back.


--CB Brandon Flowers suffered a bruised foot during a practice on artificial turf on July 31. It's not considered a serious injury and he should not miss more than a few days according to head coach Romeo Crennel.

--WR Junior Hemingway saw his training camp work grind to a halt with a groin strain that he suffered on July 30. Hemingway was making a couple plays in each practice that caught the attention of the coaching staff. His return is unknown at this point.

--DL Ethan Johnson took a blow on the chin, up and under his facemask during a July 31 practice and the Chiefs held him out of the few practices. Head coach Romeo Crennel did not describe the injury as a concussion, but the Chiefs were treating it as if it was one.

--LB Brandon Siler missed a day of practice with a sore ankle, possibly related to the Achilles tendon injury that cost him the 2011 season. He spent one day moving around camp on crutches. Siler missed a morning walkthrough and was then scheduled to miss the afternoon practice in pads, but he was on the field.

--RB Jamaal Charles was a "did not practice" when the Chiefs had an evening workout on artificial turf. Charles is making a comeback from a torn left ACL and the medical staff felt it better to hold him out of the work because of the playing surface.

--TE Tony Moeaki was a "did not practice" when the Chiefs had an evening workout on artificial turf. Moeaki is making a comeback from a torn left ACL and the medical staff felt it better to hold him out of the session because of the playing surface.

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