Red Zone

Chris Conley corrals multiple deep balls in Chiefs’ 12th practice

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) reached for a catch in the end zone past the defense of cornerback Marcus Peters (22) during training camp practice on Monday, August 7, 2017, in St. Joseph.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) reached for a catch in the end zone past the defense of cornerback Marcus Peters (22) during training camp practice on Monday, August 7, 2017, in St. Joseph. deulitt@kcstar.com

Here are the highlights from Chiefs camp on Sunday, along with an injury report, Monday’s schedule and daily music playlist.

STORY OF THE DAY

At 6 feet 3 inches and a listed 205 pounds, receiver Chris Conley has the size and athleticism — he ran a blistering 4.35 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Combine — to be a legitimate NFL deep threat. But for whatever reason, he has yet to establish himself in that vein in the NFL. That might be changing, however, as Conley has put together a stretch over the last week or so where he’s been effective as a deep-ball playmaker.

Conley thrilled the crowd Sunday with a diving catch down the right sideline on a deep throw from Smith in 7-on-7, then was on the receiving end of an absolute bomb for Patrick Mahomes, who threw a deep ball down the left sideline that landed in Conley’s hands between two defenders, cornerback Phillip Gaines and safety Eric Murray. Conley later caught a nice pass from Smith during the final 11-on-11 team period, capping a nice day. If he can continue to show improvement tracking the ball downfield, his level of play can raise a level.

DEPTH CHART NOTES

▪ At running back, Spencer Ware, Kareem Hunt and C.J. Spiller all got some first-string reps. Charcandrick West worked in with the second team.

▪ Receiver Seantavius Jones got some first-string reps.

▪ Defensive tackle Roy Miller III and inside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis got some first-team work in 9-on-7.

▪ At cornerback, D.J. White and Gaines joined entrenched starter Marcus Peters with the first string in nickel and dime packages. The typical starters in those packages, Steven Nelson and Terrance Mitchell, are currently nursing injuries.

PRACTICE RECAP

The Chiefs held a padded practice on a bright, balmy 76-degree afternoon at Missouri Western.

▪ A quick quarterback breakdown: Alex Smith completed 12 of 19 passes with a touchdown during the team periods, while Mahomes completed 7 of 12 passes with a touchdown. Tyler Bray completed 8 of 14 passes with an interception.

▪ Many of Mahomes’ completions went for chunk gains. Tight end Demetrius Harris made a nice leaping catch over the middle on one, while Demarcus Robinson caught a well-thrown deep ball on a dig route over the middle.

▪ The defense dominated the offense during 7-on-7, racking up three interceptions. The first was by Pierre-Louis, who caught a deflection for an interception of Smith that went right off Tyreek Hill’s hands. The second was thrown by Bray, who led Harris with a pass that was too long over the middle and eventually swiped by safety Steven Terrell. The third was again thrown by Smith, who attempted a short pass over the middle to Ware that deflected off Ware’s hands and was hauled in by a diving Frank Zombo. Zombo’s hustle on the play was noticeable, by the way, and a good example of why he’s been able to stick in Kansas City for five years now. As a special teams stalwart and reliable veteran backup, you can count on Zombo to give you an honest down whenever he’s called upon.

▪ The offense did rally at the end of the 7-on-7 session, however. Smith completed a deep throw to tight end Travis Kelce down the sideline over Daniel Sorensen, while Mahomes connected on a deep ball to Conley. Mahomes then threw a fade to receiver Marcus Kemp — his favorite target — down the right sideline that Kemp successfully dove to haul in. Keep an eye on the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Kemp, who could be an ideal practice squad candidate if he keeps this up. Mahomes could very well be guiding the practice squad over the course of the season, and if they continue to build a bond, it might be fun to see what kind of connection they have in 2018 with a year under their respective belts.

▪ In the final 11-on-11 session of the day, Smith led the first-string to a touchdown drive spanning 10-plus plays, one of which was a nice catch-and-run on a crossing route over the middle by Kelce, who galloped to daylight like he hasn’t missed a beat. He outran underrated safety Ron Parker on the play.

▪ Smith continued to direct the Chiefs down the field, despite a bad drop near the right sideline by Albert Wilson (who hasn’t done much of that in camp). He finished the drive off with a completion to Hunt — a promising third-round pick who continues to flash impressive balance, power and field speed — that went for a touchdown.

▪ Mahomes’ didn’t lead the twos to a score during his final drive of the day, but he was the recipient of some nice catches from tight end Ross Travis and receiver Jehu Chesson. His drive ended in a missed field goal by Sam Ficken.

▪ Bray’s final drive of the day began with a pair of nice, deep completions to Kemp and Travis but ended with a crushing interception by cornerback J.R. Nelson on a tipped ball.

▪ Ficken, by the way, had a rough day. He missed four of five field goal attempts during the 11-on-11 period, although he did rally to connect on two of three field goals during the special teams period that ended practice.

INJURY REPORT

▪  Kelce, who has been dealing with swelling in his knee, returned to action after missing the last five open practices. He even rotated in during 11-on-11 and caught some passes, a positive sign about his health.

▪ Defensive lineman Chris Jones (knee) was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list and worked out on the sideline.

▪ Nose tackle Bennie Logan (sore knee) missed the previous three practices but donned the pads Sunday and did some individual work.

▪ Cornerback Ashton Lampkin, who had a would-be sack early in practice, left the session early with a knee injury. He needed help getting to the sideline.

▪ Safety Eric Berry (sore heel) has missed the last four open practices. Kicker Cairo Santos (groin strain) and cornerback Jacoby Glenn (concussion) each missed practice for the second straight time.

▪ Outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), guard Parker Ehinger (knee) and outside linebacker Dadi Nicolas (knee) have not practiced all camp.

▪ Berry, Ehinger, Nelson, Mitchell and Santos all worked out on the sideline, which is typically a positive sign for injured players.

MONDAY’S SCHEDULE

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.

THE NUMBER

16: The total number of snaps six key defensive starters — Eric Berry, Justin Houston, Marcus Peters, Dee Ford, Ron Parker and Chris Jones — played in the Chiefs’ exhibition opener vs. San Francisco on Friday.

TOP SONGS PLAYED AT CHIEFS CAMP TODAY

“Big Money” – Don Cannon feat. Rich Homie Quan & A$AP Ferg

“B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast) – Rick Ross feat. Styles P

“Poa” – Future

“Like Whaaat” – Problem feat. Bad Lucc

“Best Friend” – Young Thug

“Thug Motivation 101” – Young Jeezy

“When You Gonna Drop” – Lil Boosie

“We In Da City” – Young Dro

“This Means War” – Avenged Sevenfold

OTHER CAMP REPORTS

Aug. 13: Chris Conley corrals multiple deep balls in Chiefs’ 12th practice

Aug. 8: Tyler Bray shows off the deep ball in Chiefs’ 11th practice

Aug. 7: Deflections and near-interceptions rule Chiefs’ 10th practice

Aug. 6: Pads off, Eric Berry out

Aug. 5: Alex Smith keeps connecting with Tyreek Hill

Aug. 4: Tempers flare in Chiefs’ spirited seventh practice

Aug. 3: Chiefs’ defensive backs stingy in sixth full-squad practice

Aug. 1: Pass defense rises to occasion in non-padded practice

July 31: Mahomes again shines on 88-yard scoring drive

July 30: Tyreek Hill looks as electric as ever

July 29: Mahomes impressive in two-minute drill

July 28: Alex Smith sharp out the gate at Chiefs training camp

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