The highlights from the Chiefs’ training camp practice Tuesday in St. Joseph, along with an injury report and Wednesday’s schedule.
▪ After going 5 for 5 in the first 11-on-11 period of the day, quarterback Alex Smith and rest of the offense struggled. Smith was 2 for 8 and was sacked as the defense dominated, but Smith rebounded in 7-on-7, throwing one great pass to a diving Jeremy Maclin on a deep cross near the left sideline. Great throw, great catch.
▪ Fifth-round rookie receiver Tyreek Hill had a terrific day, making tough catches and taking the top off the defense. He beat star cornerback Marcus Peters on a deep route in 7-on-7, tracking Alex Smith’s deep ball with Peters on his heels and outsprinting him to the end zone. The catch drew oohs and aahs from the crowd while Peters quickly dropped to the ground and did pushups as punishment. Hill also made a contested catch on a curl in front of Peters the next play, and later caught a short route in 11-on-11 and turned it into a long touchdown with some dynamic, elusive running. Finally, Hill also hooked up with Tyler Bray for an impressive contested catch on a corner route. In short, the ball skills and top-end speed Hill showed in organized team activities haven’t diminished at all during his two days in pads.
▪ The current depth chart at punt returner appears to be Frankie Hammond, Hill and De’Anthony Thomas, in that order. Hill slotted ahead of Thomas is interesting because veterans typically get the edge, especially this early in camp. Hill has the look of a young player who could carve out a role. Speaking of which …
▪ Thomas, the man trying to stave off Hill, also had a really nice day catching the ball, as he made a beautiful sliding deep grab in coverage in 7-on-7 and also beat rookie corner D.J. White on a circle route in 1-on-1s. Thomas’ catch on White was impressive because the 5-foot-8 Thomas had to make an adjustment on the ball in the air.
▪ Quarterback Tyler Bray continues to get most of the No. 2 reps, and he again showed a knack for throwing the deep ball. His completion to receiver Demarcus Robinson on a post route in 7-on-7 was gorgeous. Bray occasionally misses, though, like the time he underthrew tight end Ross Travis on a deep route, even though Travis had a step on his defender in 1-on-1 coverage.
▪ Two more receivers who stood out were fourth-round rookie Demarcus Robinson and veteran Rod Streater. In addition to the deep post he caught from Bray, Robinson also hauled in a jump ball over cornerback Bryce Cheek and seemed more dynamic. Streater, meanwhile, caught at least four passes from Smith, as he’s starting to build the same chemistry with the Chiefs’ starting quarterback that he’s already seemed to establish with Bray. Streater’s best catch Tuesday was a terrific contested grab over safety Ron Parker on a deep out in 11-on-11.
▪ Aaron Murray continues to get the third-string reps with the odd No. 2 rep mixed in. He also made a great throw to Robinson on a fade route, and a nice touch throw to running back Knile Davis on a wheel route. Murray also made a great throw on an out route to receiver Kashif Moore. Without knowing the quarterbacks’ responsibilities every play, it appeared Murray might have finally had a better day than Bray.
▪ Rookie quarterback Kevin Hogan isn’t getting many reps but he hasn’t been terribly accurate either since the pads came on Monday. He had a scattering of poor throws over the last few days, including one today into coverage over the middle in 7-on-7 that could have been picked. This should be expected, considering his status as a rookie, but the fact it was surprising is a testament to how good he looked in OTAs.
▪ Veteran receiver Mike Williams bounced back with some nice catches Tuesday after several observers watched him endure a rough 1-on-1 period Monday in which he dropped several passes. Williams looked more like the receiver he’s accustomed to being , however. …
▪ Rookie receiver Mitch Mathews dropped a few contested deep balls that would have helped his bid to open some eyes. Unless he finds a way to create more separation for corners in and out of his routes, he’ll need to make a living on contested catches like those.
▪ The defense worked on its blitz subpackages today, and cornerback Phillip Gaines — who is making his way back from a torn ACL — saw some first-string work opposite Marcus Peters in 11-on-11. Marcus Cooper continued to get some work as a first-string outside corner in nickel, but he also saw some work at safety.
▪ Peters had a busy day as he was targeted plenty. He gave up some plays, but he also had a few deflections and breakups and generally looks like the same player he did a season ago, when he was chosen NFL defensive rookie of the year. Peters is tough, supremely confident and very instinctive.
▪ Safety Stevie Brown has a chance to carve out a role this year. Brown, a veteran with a hard-hitting reputation, had a pass breakup in 11-on-11 in which he broke up a short drag route.
▪ Inside linebacker Justin March continues to show good instincts, as he shot the gap on one running play in 9-on-7 and dropped Spencer Ware for a loss.
▪ Defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches continues to have a strong camp. During 9-on-7, he blew up a run play with a tackle for loss. Meanwhile, rookie defensive lineman Chris Jones batted away a Tyler Bray pass in 11-on-11.
▪ Defensive players who appeared to record sacks in 11-on-11 include Allen Bailey, David King and Dadi Nicholas.
Left guard Parker Ehinger left practice because of a foot injury. He was driven on a cart up the hill leading back to the indoor facility. Zach Fulton took his place on the first team. Receiver Albert Wilson left practice because of a calf injury. He walked up the hill as Rod Streater took his place with the first team at slot receiver. Daniel Sorensen did not practice because of a foot injury. He was replaced with the first string at safety alongside Ron Parker with Eric Murray and Stevie Brown.
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 9:15 a.m.
17 — Players who were also present for the start of Andy Reid’s Chiefs training camp in 2013.
Top songs played at camp today
“Jumpman” — Drake
“Two Phones” — Kevin Gates
“Campaign” — Ty Dolla $ign ft. Future
“Panda” — Desiigner
“Cut It” — O.T. Genasis ft. Young Dolph
“Awwsome” — DJ Jay Mami
“No Problem” — Chance The Rapper
“Degeneration X Theme” — The DX Band
“This Means War” — Avenged Sevenfold
Other camp reports
August 2 – Tyreek Hill, other new receivers, star on second day of pads
August 1 – Big plays rule first day of pads
July 30 – No surprises among starters