Archive for Monday, May 22, 2006

Chiefs, Edwards hit it off

K.C. coach delighted with weekend practices

May 22, 2006


— Herman Edwards and his new team got their first good look at each other this week, and everyone seemed to be all smiles.

The Kansas City players, especially those who've been struggling for a beleaguered defense, like having a head coach who was once a Pro Bowl cornerback.

Edwards, who replaces the retired Dick Vermeil, liked what he saw, too, during a three-day rookie camp two weeks ago and a mandatory three-day minicamp that ended Sunday.

"It was a good week," Edwards said. "For the most part, we got a lot of things done. We set the foundation of how we're going to do things."

The Chiefs learned they'll be working at a quicker tempo than they've known the past five years under Vermeil, and that Edwards is quick to jump into position drills offering advice, encouragement and tips.

"He acts like he's real young and keeps running around," linebacker Kawika Michell said. "It's good to have somebody like that. He has a lot of passion. And it's a fast tempo, which is good. It takes care of our bodies and gets us in shape while we practice. That's the main thing right now."

Edwards seems at times to be almost everywhere on the field.

"He's been teaching us a lot about the game," Mitchell said. "He has a lot of passion about the game. That's what I've been learning about the most."

Edwards seemed to have no complaints about anyone's work habits.

"I think we've kind of set the stage on how we want to do things," he said. "Now it's just a matter of evaluating guys and really getting ready to go to training camp."

The veterans will get a week off now while the rookies practice until Thursday. In June, there will be more organized team activities.

"I think we'll turn up the volume a little bit after the next session in the OTA period," Edwards said.

The new coach spent much of Sunday's practice with the rookies. He became a Pro Bowl cornerback with the Philadelphia Eagles after being snubbed in the college draft and admits to having a special affinity with earnest youngsters facing those same long odds.

After practice Sunday, he sent the veterans on their way but drew the rookies in a tight circle and addressed them.

"I just told them, 'Now you kind of understand,"' he said. "You've been dreaming about being a pro football player, and now you've gone through seven or eight practices with these guys. You can play in this league. But it's not your talent that will keep you in the league. It's your mental ability to grasp what we're asking you to do, and then take it to the field and play that way."

One young player who seemed to be doing everything right was defensive lineman Steve Williams. The 6-foot-2, 306-pound undrafted rookie free agent out of Northwest Missouri State was lining up Sunday with the first team.

"That wasn't by accident," Edwards said. "He's working his tail off to the point where we felt he could take reps with the first guys. And that's important. What I told guys around here is that everyone's going to get an opportunity if you're doing things correctly and you're doing what you've been coached. We're going to give every guy a chance."

It was not a matter of sending the veterans a message.

"It's not a message. It's just a fact. We're asking you to do certain things, to transfer them from the classroom to the field. If you don't, we get guys who do it. It's that simple."


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