The highlights from the Chiefs' training camp practice Sunday in St. Joseph, along with an injury report and Monday’s schedule.
The weather was overcast for the entire two-hour, 40-minute padded practice. It started raining roughly 45 minutes in.
▪ The Chiefs shook things up on their second-team offensive line, which looked like this, from left-to-right: Jarrod Pughsley, Jordan Devey, Zach Fulton, Jah Reid and Zach Sterup. It’s particularly notable tht Reid earned some reps at right guard for the first time all camp. He filled in admirably at the position for Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in the playoffs last season, but had not been receiving many reps there this offseason, even dating back to organized team activities. This was also Pughsley’s first time playing left tackle in this year’s camp, though he’s practiced at the position in previous years. He had been serving as the second-team left guard, which is now occupied by Devey, who had been serving as the second-team right guard. Keep in mind that none of this is set in stone; Chiefs coach Andy Reid likes to cross-train his offensive linemen throughout camp.
▪ Not a great day for the quarterbacks overall, but Alex Smith was his typical self, making some nice throws, with most of them going to Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. Kelce continues to delight the crowd, as he punctuated a touchdown pass Smith on a deep crossing route by doing a mild somersault flip into the end zone.
However, Aaron Murray — who took most, if not all of the No. 3 reps — seemed to struggle a bit with his accuracy, perhaps due to the wet conditions. Neither Tyler Bray or Nick Foles distinguished themselves in 11-on-11, but to the naked eye, Bray’s play has been equal to or better than Foles’ since the latter’s arrival. By the way, since Foles arrived, rookie quarterback Kevin Hogan has seen his practice reps cut dramatically.
▪ Receiver Frankie Hammond seemed to be the deep target on a handful of passes, and all of them were incomplete. It’s hard to tell who was to blame — the passes that came his way all seemed to be overthrown — but he needs to take advantage of every possible opportunity. The Chiefs have at least seven other receivers — Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, Rod Streater, Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson and De’Anthony Thomas — that they have invested more time, capital (like a draft pick) or money in.
▪ Speaking of Hill, he caught another touchdown today. He hasn’t had a single bad day since camp opened 12 days ago. Another rookie, Demarcus Robinson, also continued to show flashes, as he caught a short curl from Murray, turned upfield and made two defenders — corner Bryce Cheek and linebacker Tyrell Adams — miss on his way for a score.
▪ By the way, Thomas, who is battling for a roster spot, had a bad drop over the middle on a throw from Bray. He bounced back, though, making a tough diving catch later on in the practice.
▪ After a strong start to camp, tight end Brian Parker had his second straight practice with a drop. Parker, a good blocker who is on the roster bubble, needs to be a reliable receiver to carve out a role and some playing time. The backup tight end situation remains fairly unsettled, though James O’Shaughnessy — who has been working his way back from a foot injury — made a really nice play in 11-on-11 in which he caught a pass and made two defenders, safety Shak Randolph and Cheek, miss on his way to a touchdown.
▪ In the running back/linebacker 1-on-1 drill, Knile Davis continues to show improvement as a pass catcher. Derrick Johnson is one of the Chiefs’ best cover linebackers, and Davis beat Johnson badly on what appeared to start as a wheel route and culminate in an option route, as Davis suddenly broke toward the outside and left Johnson in his wake. Davis caught the ball and earned some oohs and aahs for a well-done route.
▪ Kicker Cairo Santos missed a 65-yard field goal attempt during a special teams period. The kick was short, and Tyreek Hill fielded the ball in the end zone for a return that ended up with him galloping up the sideline, though it should be noted this was not a “live” tackling session.
▪ The defensive star of the day was arguably Daniel Sorensen, who not only delivered the biggest hit of camp during the final 11-on-11 team session, but also followed it up with big hits on the next two plays. Davis broke outside on a running play — he showed great burst and good vision — and lowered his shoulder near the sideline when he saw Sorensen closing in. Sorensen proceeded to deliver a massive blow, which resulted in Davis lying flat on his back for several seconds before he was finally helped to his feet. Sorensen followed that up with a big hit on receiver Kashif Moore on a short route over the middle and another on a running play.
Sorensen, who also plays linebacker in certain defensive subpackages, wasn’t the only defender to take advantage of the “live” 11-on-11 tackling sessions Sunday. Outside linebackers Andy Mulumba and Jonathan Massaquoi, who each have been fairly quiet throughout camp, each unleashed big hits during the team sessions.
▪ Along with Sorensen, cornerback Marcus Peters also had a great day. Peters continues to show elite ball skills, as he undercut an Alex Smith pass near the sideline (which was intended for Jeremy Maclin) and returned it for a would-be touchdown. He also had an interception later in practice when he undercut a Tyler Bray pass in the end zone. No defensive player has made more plays throughout camp than Peters, who occasionally gives up plays but always seems to get it back.
▪ A few other defensive backs made some nice plays Sunday, including safety Ron Parker, who has had a fairly quiet camp but nearly had an interception when he closed on a Nick Foles pass near the sideline and almost hauled it in. Rookie corner KeiVarae Russell also broke up a crossing route intended for James O’Shaughnessy, while corner Steven Nelson broke up a pass intended for Hammond. Inside linebacker Ramik Wilson also sniffed out a screen pass near the goal line.
▪ Outside linebacker Dee Ford has much to prove this season. If the Chiefs are going to be strong against the run, he has to set the edge. He gave it up on one running play near the goal line Sunday.
During the O-line vs. D-line 1-on-1 session, sixth-round rookie Dadi Nicolas continued to flash a pass-rush arsenal, as he beat right tackle Mitchell Schwartz with what appeared to be a quick inside swim move. Again, Nicolas needs to get stronger and improve his eyes against the run, but there’s some talent worth developing there. …
▪ Speaking of Schwartz, he took a rep at left tackle in this drill, which is notable because the Chiefs don’t have an established backup for Eric Fisher at left tackle and might be better off turning to Schwartz in the event of a Fisher injury. Schwartz last played left tackle in college and is regarded as one of the best right tackles in the NFL.
▪ Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif needs to keep working on his overall awareness and technique in pass protection, but he certainly has the physical skills to be a good guard. An example of that came Sunday, when he anchored in against a bull rush by powerful nose tackle Dontari Poe and held his ground.
▪ Defensive tackle Jaye Howard continues to impress with his combination of power and quickness. He’s just difficult to block.
▪ One under-the-radar player who has occasionally flashed is 6-foot-4, 281-pound defensive end David King. King had an impressive rush in the pass-rush drill and also put a nasty lick on running back Darrin Reaves during an 11-on-11 session.
▪ Knile Davis suffered a shoulder injury after absorbing the big hit from Sorensen. He did not return to practice.
▪ Inside linebacker Josh Mauga (groin) missed practice for the second straight day, and Ramik Wilson again replaced him with the first string. Receiver Albert Wilson missed his fourth straight practice with a strained calf, and Rod Streater again saw lots of time in the slot with the first string.
▪ Defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches, who missed practice Friday with a foot injury, practiced for the second straight day.
▪ Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali and running back Jamaal Charles remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list and did not practice. Safety Eric Berry still has not reported due to his contract situation.
Practice will be at 9:15 a.m.
39: The jersey number of new safety Jeron Johnson, a veteran who started two games for Washington last season and has appeared in 60 NFL games since 2011.
TOP SONGS PLAYED AT CHIEFS CAMP TODAY
“Lifestyle” — Rich Gang ft. Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan
(There was very little music played, due to the rain)
OTHER CAMP REPORTS
August 4 — No practice
August 1 – Big plays rule first day of pads
July 30 – No surprises among starters