The Kansas City Chiefs completed their third day of team practices yesterday and our boots on the ground have their report in for you this morning. Here is a recap of what went down at practice. -PA
GREAT NEWS – Dwayne Bowe was back, participating fully & the PADS were on! There wasn’t much of the tackling to the ground that Reid said would happen but there were some pads popping and the intensity level definitely increased! I expect the tackling will follow as the adjustment to pads continues.
Bowe started off a little slowly with a couple drops but was quickly showing us all that he is an incredible talent. He was running crisp routes and showing great hands. Bowe schooled Sean Smith repeatedly beating him and making it look way to easy. As exciting as that makes me for Bowe it made me worry about Smith almost as much. On a lighter note make sure to pester Paddy for the hilarious picture of Bowe catching some “balls” while McCluster keeps an eye on his “technique”.
I spoke to Jeff Allen after they ran in the end zone at the start of practice and he said the shoulder injury was minor. He was joined by Braden Wilson, rookie Bronson, B. Jackson & Dixon.
Practice ran just slightly beyond the announced 2.5 hours. Very interesting drills with 1 on 1, 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 practice. The loud music was only played during the 11 on 11′s again. There was less of the players that make a mistake lining right back up and run the play again. IMO they are moving towards getting it right or we are moving on to the other guy fighting for your position to make sure the best players are getting more reps. I forgot to mention a new drill being run with the WR’s yesterday was one where they ran a straight fly pattern with the ball being delivered out front of them after about 10-15 yards and they were only allowed to catch it with their outside hand. The drill was repeated on both sides so they had to do it with each hand. Another interesting drill today was when the QB’s had to roll away from pressure by a coach with both hands extended in their face and make a throw into the center basket of a net. All of them found this extremely challenging with Bray being the most successful.
Alex Smith is leading this team! He was looking great for the 3rd day in a row. Not many deep balls except during the 1 on 1′s but they were on target. Smith looked sharp on all routes consistently hitting our receivers in stride which should explode our YAC. I saw him over throw one deep ball in 1 on 1′s and another short out during 11 on 11 drills. Avery made more plays today than I had seen before with a full extension sideline toe tap being the most impressive. Terry Copper showed up in a huge way today! He ran routes better than I have ever seen, showed great hands and caught a long TD heat seeking missile from AS during 1 on 1′s that we all thought had no chance of getting past Flowers let alone Copper catching it! Has to be one of the best throws I have seen to date.
Next to Bowe’s exciting return and Copper’s big day the next most impressive performance was Junior Hemingway’s big day. I had high hopes for him last year in camp before he got hurt and he is really developing. He is a big body like Bowe & Baldwin who is running sharp routes, showing great hands, is imposing when running with the ball and AS found him frequently today. Wylie continues to look good. Baldwin ran better routes and great hands especially on a 20 yard sideline pattern where he went up well above two defenders and came down with the ball.
McCluster is impressive – not just with his catches but with his moves too. He made an inside out move that left Robinson laying on the ground. Shocking as it is he actually dropped his first one that I have seen today on a beautiful arching throw from AS about 15 yards down the right sideline which would have been a TD. Before the season started I had serious concerns about the depth of the WR group but the development of our guys with a QB throwing accurate passes “in stride” (this may become the most repeated phrase of the year) is making this much less of a concern IMO.
I think our greatest position of strength may be our TE’s. Harris and Brock show potential and one of them will probably be on the practice squad if we end up keeping four on the roster. Moeaki continues to look good and knock on wood that he stays healthy, Kelce was very impressive today and Fasano had some nice plays too. Possibly the catch of the day was when Kelce ran an out pattern and AS lasered the ball to the left. Kelce reached out with his right hand and tipped the ball into his chest while getting rung up from the front and back simultaneously and came down with the ball!
Stanzi was holding the ball too long and is flat footed and is looking more & more like the odd man out. I still say Bray hasn’t shown anything one way or the other. Daniel continues to be off on his accuracy and takes too long to make decisions. I am more concerned about our depth at QB. Does anyone know the details of Daniel’s contract? What if he ends up being our #3 QB? Getting $4M for holding the back up QB’s clipboard – if you even dress – seems excessive. Kendrick Lewis showed more today with a nice break on a pass that should have been a pick 6 while S Demps had two INT’s and seems to be all over the field.
The run plays were much more exciting with the addition of the pads. While JC will be our super star RB I saw really good vision, cuts, and speed from Gray and Davis today. Davis had ZERO balls on the ground, was incredibly quick to the edge and broke some long runs. He was also the last guy off the field today staying late to take 5 yard catches from the Jugs machines AND kick return reps too. TE Harris was also staying late taking Jugs reps. If Davis can solve the mystery of the slipper pig then I think Draughn may end up being our #4 RB. Being he was our #2 last year when Hillis began to fade I think that speaks well to our depth at WR. They ran the AS option pitch play to McCluster again today for a large chunk of yardage down the right sideline.
The defense dominated the OL vs DL pass rush drills again today. Shocking moment of the day – After our #1 pick Fisher got beat badly by Chivas and was walking back to the waiting area one of the coaches told him to get back in there. While lining up he was tugging at his left hand like it was hurting and Reid stepped into the drill and said “leave that hand alone and get in there and get it done right”. Fisher was better the next play but still got worked back into the pocket pretty good by Catapano. So he was lined up again until he won the next battle. Lane beat Brandon Albert a few times again and is seriously pissing him off! Donald Stevenson stepped it up a notch or two today but Lane still got the better of him. Poe had a sick spin move and Powe looked better today on multiple plays especially one play when he got one stiff arm under the pads of OL #77 and bull rushed him back into the pocket so quickly that I doubt the QB could have gotten out of the way had a QB been in there. All of them are showing multiple times impressive speed, power on inside & outside moves. DeVito and Bailey had nice efforts also but they better or these other guys may take the starting positions. This makes me much more confident about our depth at DE. I have heard many of the Jags fans were pissed that they lost Austen Lane with obvious good reason! Before anyone panics about the abuse of our OL the consensus is that this is a drill that focuses on the DL pass rush more than the OL’s ability to protect.
Speaking of defensive domination. During the 7 on 7′s DJ was slashing through the gaps created by the aggressive push by the DL and blew up multiple plays, Hali and Houston were disruptive and IMO Houston will be a 15+ sack performer this year. I heard one of the local KC radio stations voicing concern about our sack potential and the critical relief it provides for the DB’s. They were saying that Houston will be good for 10 (why wouldn’t he be better than last year?) and Hali for 7-8 and DJ for 4 and maybe 10 from the rest of the team for a total of around 32 which wouldn’t be much better than last year and would lead to our failure. I am concerned about our ability to cover more than anything else at this point. Sutton’s attacking style of defense will benefit us greatly. He even had the corners blitzing today which is not what he did in NY. IMO we will have Houston with 15-20, Hali with 12-15, DJ with 6-8, Poe with 4-5 and another 10 from the blitzing corners/safeties and our improved DE’s for a total of 47-58 which would propel us to a top 5 defense. My biggest concern is the when we use one or two down linemen with 5-6 DB that Sutton still has Berry jammed up close playing just off the line. Why? Has he not seen the film from 2012 vs the outstanding 2010 season? Berry is better being the rocket from the back than getting caught up in the big uglies off the line.
Yesterday I mentioned that the competition at ILB is good but that Jordan seemed to have the upper hand for now but Nico was pushing him. Today Nico pushed him even further looking impressive in the run stopping and even more so in coverage. This is surprising because Nico was a 2 down ILB in college and the knock on him is that he can’t cover but I’m beginning to think his situation is much like Tyson Jackson’s (who is showing more of an outside……hold on to your hats – Burst! That’s right I said burst! He keeps this up we may have to retire the “Tin Man” title). Like Jackson he wasn’t asked to perform an aspect so didn’t develop the performance of it. Both of them seem to be developing where they hadn’t before because they have the been tasked with doing it.
All of the players were taking catches from the ball machines at the end of practice again. I don’t remember the defensive players doing this last year. Reid also had the defense doing a drill where the LB’s & DB’s dropped into coverage with NO WR’s and the QB’s threw to them. I think he is wanting them to think more about catching the ball instead of just coverage. Great idea being we were dead last in INT’s last year with SEVEN! I saw Hali and Houston working between drills on hand to hand combat setting an example for the rest of the team. Charles, who has been lining up as a WR as expected, was watching Flowers working with a coach between drills. You could see Flowers was explaining to JC how he addresses the WR off the line. So freaking smart!
Special teams worked on the onside kick coverage and Succop was 100% accurate on his FG’s but when he gets to the 45 yard range he tends to pull them to to left and nearly missed the crossbar on one. I have always been concerned with his accuarcy in the 40-50 yard range and was disappointed we didn’t bring in competition to push him.
Please join us in praying that practice doesn’t get rained out tomorrow (90% chance up to 8am & again in the afternoon) or Tuesday (40%).
Your loyal camp reporters,
KCMikeG & TrevorG