Chiefs Daily, Aug. 9: Daniel Sorensen makes an impact, Nick Foles taking snaps as back-up QB
The highlights from the Chiefs’ training camp practice Tuesday in St. Joseph, along with an injury report and Wednesday’s schedule.
▪ The Chiefs held padded practice for two hours and 40 minutes on a nice, sunny day.
▪ New quarterback Nick Foles consistently got the overwhelming majority of the second-team reps ahead of Tyler Bray. Foles hasn’t quite found his rhythm yet — he continues to struggle with the strike zone a bit — but he did look good during the seven-on-seven goal-line period, when he completed three straight passes for touchdowns, including one to Tyreek Hill (who made a sliding catch over the middle) and two to Ross Travis. Speaking of Travis …
▪ Travis, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound former college basketball player at Penn State continues to show intriguing potential as a “move” tight end. His athleticism and natural ball skills continue to stand out. He took a good pop on his first touchdown catch from Foles, as Justin March drilled him in the back on a short crossing route, and bounced back the next play to catch another touchdown in traffic over the middle. It was a positive sign for a player who hasn’t taken a hit in nearly nine years. Still …
▪ Aside from Travis Kelce and Travis (most of the time, at least), the Chiefs’ tight end corps continues to be plagued by drops. Sometimes the throws aren’t perfect, but tight ends have to be reliable receivers, a security blanket, if you will, and Demetrius Harris, James O’Shaughnessy and to a lesser extent, Brian Parker, have dropped more passes than you’d like. You could maybe tolerate some of that if this was a group of strong blockers, but none of them (Kelce included) are great in the running game. The Chiefs could really use an Anthony Fasano-type on this roster, but the guys currently in the mix still have some time to prove they can get it done. That said …
▪ The 6-7, 230-pound Harris is definitely positioned to be the No. 2 tight end. He’s played plenty of football, and he’s got the size to be a good inline blocker. He’s also caught a lot of passes in camp, including a bobbling catch near the sideline Tuesday that he might have hauled in.
▪ Receiver Chris Conley has shown improvement since last season. He does a better job of making the tough catch and shows more sophistication in his routes. He beat Marcus Peters on a comeback route on Tuesday, which isn’t easy against an instinctive playmaker like Peters. If you run a sloppy route, Peters can jump it and take it back the other way. But Conley’s improved route running helped him get open. That’s a positive development for the talented second-year pro from Georgia.
▪ Other players who made nice plays include: quarterback Aaron Murray, who delivered a bullet to receiver Da’Ron Brown in the end zone just before a diving D.J. White could get there; receiver Frankie Hammond, who tipped a pass to himself in the back of the end zone for a touchdown; and quarterback Tyler Bray, who completed a nice fade ball to Da’Ron Brown that was right on the money.
▪ Tyreek Hill dropped a rare pass at the end of practice. There’s something you don’t see every day.
▪ Cornerback Marcus Peters broke up a slant intended for Jeremy Maclin. His strong camp continues.
▪ Cornerback KeiVarae Russell flashed a few times. He had good coverage on a fade to Demarcus Robinson that landed incomplete, and also deflected a pass.
▪ Cornerback Marcus Cooper, who got a few reps at safety, recorded a nice interception in seven-on-seven goal-line drills when Foles appeared to throw behind his receiver and Cooper made a diving play on the ball. Cooper, the Chiefs’ 2013 rookie of the year, has quietly had a solid camp.
▪ Outside linebacker Frank Zombo recorded a sack on quarterback Alex Smith in 11-on-11. Zombo doesn’t make many headlines, but he’s a very steady veteran with a special-teams presence who provides quality depth at a fairly uncertain position.
▪ Other players who recorded sacks Tuesday were defensive tackle Dontari Poe and outside linebacker Dee Ford.
▪ Some depth chart notes: The Chiefs shook things up at safety, as recently signed veteran Jeron Johnson and veteran Akeem Davis each got some first-string work at safety. Davis lined up as a nickel linebacker, a position the Chiefs are auditioning several players at after losing steady veteran Husain Abdullah to retirement this offseason.
▪ Other players who made nice plays include: cornerback D.J. White, who broke up a slant intended for Rod Streater; safety Ron Parker, who broke up a pass intended for Demetrius Harris; nose tackle Jaye Howard, who was disruptive on running plays; cornerback Steven Nelson, who broke up a pass intended for Travis; inside linebacker Justin March, who deflected a slant pass.
Inside linebacker Josh Mauga (groin) missed his third practice in four days. He participated in Monday’s non-padded practice but sat during Tuesday’s padded practice. Ramik Wilson continues to get No. 1 reps in his place.
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.
8:15 a.m. practice
28 — Years Zarda Bar-B-Q has fed the Chiefs. The company will again bring several hundred pounds of barbecue to St. Joseph on Wednesday to feed the team.
Top songs played today at Chiefs camp
“Hype” — Drake
“Flex” — Rich Homie Quan
“Enter Sandman” — Metallica
“Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” — Digable Planets”
“Knuck If You Buck” — Crime Mob ft. Lil’ Scrappy
“Welcome to Jamrock” — Damian Marley
“Jumpman” — Drake ft. Future
“Headlines” — Drake
“Type of Way” — Rich Homie Quan
“Hail To The King” — Avenged Sevenfold
“Bricks” — Carnage ft. Migos
“Ice Cream Paint Job” — Dorrough
“Centuries” — Fall Out Boy
Other camp reports
Aug. 4 — No practice
Aug. 1 — Big plays rule first day of pads
July 30 — No surprises among starters