Image edited by Brett Gering
Football oozes with a brand of action that holds retinas hostage and packs enough suspense to send Ben Stein into cardiac arrest.
Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs' highlight reel looked more like an M. Night Shyamalan trailer. Brian Daboll penned a more vanilla script than After Earth, and The Last Airbender came in the form of an Arrowhead pilot trolling Scott Pioli. [Jot in your own "disappointing ending" pun.]
However, Clark Hunt tossed a bone to a fanbase starving for any semblance of success.
The hiring of Andy Reid snowballed into a (seemingly) picture-perfect makeover. The following photo gallery freezes time and, in some cases, depicts how Kansas City's bright future divorces its murky past.
This photo embodies the divide between Andy Reid's coaching philosophy and Romeo Crennel's.
Crennel is a player's coach through and through. He's a defensive guru who excels under a larger coaching umbrella, but he's not a disciplinarian by nature and struggles when he's handed the keys to a franchise. Crennel endeared himself to players, but the team regressed to a muddled mess.
Players who have been coached by Reid tend to share a well-documented affection for him. However, he's an assertive teacher who demands a work ethic similar to his own.
No, that's not a tight end. And no, it's not a coincidence that all of Jalil Brown's photos capture him mid-victimization.
Looks can be deceiving.
Brown is a lot of things—sluggish, unaware and gullible, to name a few—but he isn't small: He measures at 6'1", 204 pounds. If he appears smaller in stature, it's because the receiver stiff-arming him, Junior Hemingway, is 6'1" and tips the scale at 225 pounds.
To put that into perspective, the Chiefs' potential starting strong-side linebacker (a.k.a. the man responsible for bulldozing lead blockers), Akeem Jordan, weighs five pounds heavier.
Hemingway is a sure-handed hybrid receiver—he can line up in the slot or outside—who was a special teams standout at Michigan. Eventually, the final wideout spot could boil down to a four-way brawl between him, Terrance Copper, Rico Richardson and Josh Bellamy.
The Chiefs' second home until August 14.
With the majority of Missouri Western students on summer vacation, Spratt Stadium tends to paint a peaceful, "serenity now" backdrop.
Then, Chiefs players take the field and staffers open the floodgates to fan-demonium as thousands of red-and-gold-plated megaphones file behind guardrails.
Brandon Flowers doing what Brandon Flowers does: forcing incompletions.
In sub packages (nickel, dime, etc.), the Chiefs have continually moved Flowers inside to guard shiftier slot receivers throughout practice.
Dunta Robinson's limited agility and Sean Smith's towering frame are recipes for mismatches against quicker targets. However, both corners (especially Smith) excel on the outside, and Flowers is a fleet-footed lockdown corner—the decision is a no-brainer.
Sliding No. 24 closer to the line of scrimmage also opens the door for blitzes.
Judging from the picture, the "D. Bowe Show" is a spinoff where the Chiefs' receiver helps Gilligan escape via coconut raft.
That, or No. 82 is the Kansas City cousin of Mets Bucket Hat Guy.
Questionable attire aside, Dwayne Bowe opened training camp on the sidelines due to a respiratory virus. While his fellow wideouts are sure to see more targets than years past, a more balanced pass distribution should relieve the burden on Bowe and open a window of opportunity for greater production.
Two seasons ago, the overhanging image would flaunt far less star power.
But after a year of rehab, Jamaal Charles rushed for a career-high 1,509 yards. And after a torturous first half of the season, Eric Berry charted 36 of his league-leading 44 defensive stops after Week 7's bye.
Although the vision is still somewhat unnerving, it shows both playmakers confidently planting on Spratt Stadium's field. Furthermore, it shows newcomer Anthony Sherman getting the best of Tamba Hali: a welcomed sight in Charles' eyes.
Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
To no surprise, Alex Smith has spent a healthy amount of time moonlighting as an autograph signer after practice(s).
Through the somber lows and blissful highs, Smith has remained a consummate role model—on and off the field—who has given back to the community.
The Boston Globe reported that his foundation raised $839,244 between 2008 and 2010—91 percent of which was donated to charitable causes. Compared to other athletes, such as Alex Rodriguez (whose foundation allocated a measly one percent of its earnings to charity in 2006), Smith stands amongst a select few in terms of philanthropy.
Whether its money or service, Kansas City's quarterback always makes time for fans and non-fans alike.
Kansas City's (presumably) starting tight end, Anthony Fasano, hones his underrated receiving skills.
Fasano is revered for his blocking—and justifiably so—but most onlookers fail to point out that he has only one dropped pass to his name throughout the previous two seasons.
Vernon Davis quickly became Alex Smith's go-to guy in San Francisco. From a pass-catching perspective, Fasano clearly isn't on the same level as Davis, but Smith's affinity for targeting tight ends will guarantee that No. 80 snags no shortage of receptions.
On a side note, Eric Berry's posture echoes that of someone waiting in a closet with a hockey mask melded to their face.
Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
The No. 1 overall pick prepares to block for the centerpiece of Kansas City's offense as the main man in charge supervises.
The image encapsulates three cornerstones of the Chiefs' future: Andy Reid, Jamaal Charles and Eric Fisher.
Fisher has admitted that, given his natural instincts as a left tackle, refining his technique to suit the right side has been his tallest hurdle thus far. Regardless of whether Branden Albert stays or goes, Kansas City's heralded rookie will have plenty of time to acclimate: Fisher is essentially locked up for the next five seasons (his four-year contract contains a club option for 2017).
To this point, it seems that rookie Tyler Bray has furthered his case for the final quarterback slot more so than Ricky Stanzi.
But due to social networking, it's easy to jump the gun and succumb to prisoner-of-the-moment tendencies. Teams aren't required to submit 53-man rosters until August 31, so Stanzi still has a month to reverse fortunes.
However, if anything, third-year pros normally show signs of progress throughout training camp while rookies tend to suffer slower starts; the opposite has held true in the competition for third-string quarterback.
Also pictured is rookie Eric Kush, who has made a theme out of muffing snaps throughout practice sessions. If he doesn't resolve the issue, the front office will enlist help sooner than later.
Resistance bands have become staples at Chiefs practices.
The accessories offer a number of benefits, including improved balance, increased flexibility and muscle strengthening (injury rehab and prevention). Furthermore, the bands can supplement other drills to provide a two-birds-one-stone scenario.
Resistance training has converted new strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin into a believer. Following the slew of non-contact injuries over the past two seasons, any change is a welcomed one.
The seesawing battles between the Chiefs' pass-rushers and pass-protectors, alone, are worth the price of admission.
Justin Houston and Tamba Hali form a tandem of top-tier edge-rushers. Assuming Eric Fisher resembles the player on film, he and Branden Albert double as oppressive pass-blockers.
With KCChiefs.com cameras rolling, Albert was asked how he prepares for the first full-contact drills of camp. The left tackle smirkingly offered:
I'd have to say that first pass rush against Tamba—that's when I know I'm ready to rock and roll with him and Justin coming at me. So, that first pass rush, [if] I get hit or he beats me, then I'm like, 'Okay, it's time to play.
The pairs will be handed their fair share of wins and losses, but both units will be better off because of it.
Remember the name "Rico Richardson."
At the very least, Richardson is favorite to crack the practice squad. But if he survives the final cut and lands on the 53-man roster, nobody in the know will bat an eyelash.
Every undrafted free agent has room for improvement—Richardson is no exception. His 6'0", 185-pound frame, which was even slimmer throughout college, needs to pack on a minimum of 10-15 pounds. He also needs to sharpen his routes on a more consistent basis.
Richardson's game drips with potential, though. He's a bona fide deep threat with 4.39 40 speed, and he routinely snatched highlight-worthy receptions at Jackson State—a trend that has bled into Kansas City's training camp.
The rookie also adds a coat of insurance to the return game.
A quarterback whisperer in its natural habitat.
Reid dispels any myth implying that former players make for the most insightful coaches. His last downs were played as an offensive lineman at BYU, yet he explains the intricacies of quarterbacking like a passing pioneer.
Kansas City's 2013 success largely hinges on Alex Smith's ability to learn Reid's system. Considering the two's respective track records, Chiefs fans have no reason not to sleep well at night.
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