The highlights from Chiefs camp on Thursday, along with an injury report, Friday’s schedule and daily music playlist.
▪ First, a little housekeeping. New nose tackle Roy Miller is wearing No. 98, while undrafted rookie Ricky Ali’ifua is now wearing No. 64.
▪ Also, some depth chart notes: tight end Orson Charles has logged time as a tight end in team drills, but he’s worked out with the running backs during individual drills, a sign the Chiefs see him as an H-back or fullback type … The Chiefs have been rotating their inside linebackers pretty good all camp, but Derrick Johnson and Ramik Wilson got the starting nods today and would appear to be the likely duo of the season started now.
▪ The Chiefs jumped into 11-on-11 work quickly on a beautiful, sunny day. The first-stringers faced off against each other early, with the defense getting the best of the offense by limiting quarterback Alex Smith to a 2-for-5 start. While Tyreek Hill — who has had an awesome camp — made a terrific contested catch, both cornerback Terrance Mitchell and safety Ron Parker had impressive pass breakups.
Then it was the second-stringers’ turn. Receiver Seantavius Jones, who is having a nice camp, made a terrific contested catch on a curl route with cornerback D.J. White — who made the play of the day later on — all over him. White actually jumped over Jones’ back while he attempted to make a play on the ball. A few plays later, defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon sacked Bray.
Then came the third-stringers. Rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes continued his gunslinger ways, attempting a difficult throw up the seam to Marcus Kemp that was nearly intercepted by safety Leon McQuay.
The Chiefs shifted to a full-contact goal line drill, led by the first-string offense. Spencer Ware scored on a short run on the first play and he also caught a short touchdown pass from Smith a few plays later. Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif had a nasty pancake block on the next play, a short run by Ware.
The first-string defense took the field against the No. 2 offense and stuffed running back Kareem Hunt a number of times. Bray was also intercepted by safety Ron Parker when it appeared Bray — who was running to his right — tried to throw the ball away. Dee Ford also threw Hunt to the ground for a minimal gain on a read-option with Mahomes, a positive sign for those hoping to see Ford set the edge better this year.
But the backups closed the drill strong, as Mahomes threw a touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Ross Travis on a bootleg to his right, and running back Devine Redding scored on a run up the middle on the final play of the period.
▪ During O-line vs. D-line pass-protection drills, rookie end Tanoh Kpassagnon beat tackle Mitchell Schwartz on an inside move. Kpassagnon needs some work against the run, but he might be able to help this year in some pass-rushing situations because of his absurd length and athleticism. He’s looked a little more refined as a pass rusher than I thought he might be.
▪ Other highlights of O-line vs. D-line drills: Zach Fulton and Duvernay-Tardif each stalling Rakeem Nunez-Roches’ bull rush, nose tackle Bennie Logan showing some pass-rush juice as an end by using an effective rip move to win outside to the quarterback.
▪ Observations from the final 11-on-11 session of the day: Safety Eric Berry broke up a short pass intended for tight end Travis Kelce (Berry looks like he’s in great shape and has stood out in camp), while Bray uncorked an outstanding deep ball up the seam to Seantavius Jones. Bray, by the way, probably throws the prettiest deep ball of any quarterback on the Chiefs’ roster, and as Joe Flacco has shown, the threat of the deep ball can be real weapon.
Inside linebacker Justin March-Lillard broke up a Mahomes pass, while Spencer Ware — who appears to be getting all the first-string work — ran hard and absorbed some punishment. Safety Eric Murray, a college cornerback who looks more decisive in his second year at safety, put a good lick on Ware near the sideline.
Cornerback D.J. White made the play of the day with a diving, fully-extended interception of Alex Smith that drew loud cheers from the crowd.
Mahomes attempted the same throw down the seam that was nearly intercepted by McQuay earlier in the day, this time with worse results, as McQuay snagged it this time and returned it upfield. McQuay, who also knocked away a short Mahomes pass a few plays earlier, stood out noticeably for the first time all camp, and it should come as no surprise that he was playing safety, his natural college position, instead of cornerback, where he was briefly shifted to following his selection as a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft.
Reserve outside linebacker Earl Okine sacked Mahomes and has shown flashes of being disruptive. Despite his impressive size — 6 feet 6 and 290 pounds — Okine has lined up as a outside linebacker and gotten some second-team work in camp.
Alex Smith closed the day in style. He connected on a gorgeous deep ball down the right sideline to Tyreek Hill, which set up a score a few plays later, when Smith sat patiently in the pocket, scanned the entire field — from left to right — and found Chris Conley in the end zone for an easy touchdown.
▪ Cornerback Terrance Mitchell left practice because of a hamstring injury. He was carted up the hill during practice. Cornerback Keith Baxter (wrist) and cornerback J.R. Nelson (groin) were also forced to leave practice.
▪ Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson returned to practice after missing the last two because of an abscessed tooth that needed to be removed. Cornerback Kenneth Acker (groin) also returned to practice after missing the last two.
▪ Running back Charcandrick West (ankle) missed practice for the third straight day. Safety Jordan Sterns, who missed four straight practices because of an illness, was placed on waivers. His spot was filled by Roy Miller, who was signed Wednesday.
▪ Outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), guard Parker Ehinger (knee), outside linebacker Dadi Nicolas (knee) and defensive lineman Chris Jones (knee) are all on the PUP list and did not practice.
Practice is at 8:15 a.m. and will last about two hours and 40 minutes. It is expected to be padded. Admission is free, but Missouri Western charges $5 for parking.
3 — The number of cornerbacks that left practice Thursday’s full-padded practice because of injuries.
TOP SONGS PLAYED AT CHIEFS CAMP TODAY
“Slick Talk” — Future
“Me Ok” — Jeezy
“Heart Of A Lion” — Boosie
“Afterlife” — Avenged Sevenfold
“King of Everything” — Wiz Khalifa
“Push It” — O.T. Genasis
“Like Whaaat” — Problem feat. Bad Lucc
“No Pressure” — French Montana feat. Future
“Ball Player” — Meek Mill feat. Quavo
“Element” — Kendrick Lamar
“What More Can I Say” — Jay Z
“Jumpman” — Drake feat. Future
“Met Gala” — Gucci Mane
OTHER CAMP REPORTS
Aug. 3: Chiefs’ defensive backs stingy in sixth full-squad practice