The highlights from the Chiefs’ training camp practice Monday in St. Joseph, along with an injury report and Tuesday’s schedule.
▪ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said this was his team’s best first day in pads in his four years in Kansas City, and that certainly seemed to be the case. The offense was generally sharper and the practice was very competitive.
▪ Tight end Demetrius Harris seems much more in his element on the field than he did two years ago. He caught several passes Monday and could be a nice target with his athleticism and huge catch radius, but he needs to eliminate the focus drops. He had a bad one near the sideline Monday.
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▪ Tight end Ross Travis caught the first pass that came his way during 11-on-11. There was a defender nearby but he didn’t seem too worried about getting hit.
▪ Quarterback Tyler Bray continues to make a few nice throws a day. He threw a gorgeous fade to receiver Frankie Hammond near the left sideline, but Hammond couldn’t haul it in. Bray later connected with running back Knile Davis (who looks more comfortable catching the ball) with a gorgeous ball on a wheel route downfield.
▪ Quarterback Aaron Murray has been more accurate on deep balls than he had been in OTAs. He threw a nice fade to receiver Kashif Moore, who couldn’t haul it in. It’s the kind of tough catch a player like Moore has to make if he wants to open some eyes.
▪ Receiver Albert Wilson put together another good day. He made a good catch on a nice deep ball, thrown by Alex Smith, down the right sideline by getting behind Steven Nelson.
▪ Receiver Tyreek Hill still looked immensely quick in pads. He also flashed the same plus ball skills he did in OTAs, as he adjusted to a pass thrown behind him near the sideline and made a contested catch.
▪ Rookie left guard Parker Ehinger moves well laterally on running plays. He also seems to keep his head on a swivel in pass protection.
▪ Marcus Cooper continued to get double duty as the first-string right corner in nickel and second-string left corner in 11-on-11. One of the rookies will have to beat him out if they want to take his job. It will not be handed them. By the way, Cooper undercut a Bray pass and hauled in the only interception of the day.
▪ Fourth-round rookie Eric Murray rang in camp with the first big hit, as he laid out receiver Rod Streater on a short route and stood over him for a brief second. Murray has spent most of his time in camp as a second-string safety, but he earned some first-string reps with Ron Parker on Monday.
▪ Outside linebacker Dee Ford had a nice day. The defense racked up its fair share of sacks during the 11-on-11 period, and it can be tough to tell who should get credit for a sack because quarterbacks are not live, but Ford was in the vicinity for at least two sacks and maybe even a few more. His first step remains explosive and working against a very good right tackle like Mitch Schwartz — who flashed a strong, violent punch — everyday will only help his development as a pass rusher.
▪ Other players who seemed to be in the vicinity for sacks include outside linebacker Dezman Moses, defensive end Nick Williams and safety Daniel Sorensen.
Pass rush drill
Unlike last year, when the defensive linemen really worked over the offensive linemen in this drill on the first day of pads, this year’s 1-on-1 pass-rush drills were spirited and very competitive, as the offensive linemen fared much better.
▪ A good example of the competitiveness came when guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif squared off against nose tackle Dontari Poe. Poe landed a club move and seemed to stumble, and Duvernay-Tardif proceeded to put Poe on his back. He rose to his feet and pushed Duvernay-Tardif, which led to a minor skirmish. The two later squared off against each other and battled to a draw without incident.
▪ Second-round rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones was arguably the most impressive defensive lineman. Jones’ unique combination of size (6 feet 6, 310 pounds) and athleticism really shined, as he proved to be too much to handle on a few occasions. He fired off the ball quick and flashed a pass-rush arsenal, including an effective swim move and bull rush.
▪ Another impressive defensive lineman was 2015 sixth-round pick Rakeem Nunez-Roches, who flashed good quickness off the ball and used an outside step to beat Ehinger back to the inside with his quickness. He looks a little stronger, too.
▪ Jaye Howard had a nice effort, beating Duvernay-Tardif with an outsider shoulder spin. Howard, 27, looks quick and powerful and could be headed toward another nice year.
▪ Sixth-round rookie Dadi Nicolas has an assortment of pass-rush moves — he even flashed an effective arm chop — but the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder needs to gain strength to become a complete rusher.
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 because of his contract situation.
Practice at 8:15 a.m.
2 — The number of questions Chris Wilhelm, a.k.a. Fake Andy Reid, was allowed to field from reporters Monday.
Top songs played at Chiefs camp today
“All the Way Up” — Fat Joe, Remy Ma ft. French Montana
“Trials & Tribulations” — Ace Hood
“Down In the DM” — Yo Gotti
“Handsome and Wealthy” — Migos
“Push It” — Rick Ross
Other camp reports
August 1 – Big plays rule first day of pads
July 30 – No surprises among starters