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Chiefs Training Camp Report, 7/25/2014

Jul 25, 2014 -- 10:29pm

By @TJCarpenterWHB

 

NOTES: 
-Knile Davis spend a lot of time working as the first team back and in tandem with Jamaal Charles on the field at the same time
-Eric Kush has spent two straight practices getting snaps at first team center
-Tyler Bray had some very nice pop on the ball today, more so than usual. Was excellent in accuracy drills.
-Sanders Commings was away from the field working with a medicine ball, was not wearing a boot or brace on his foot.
-AJ Jenkins had a nice day with several diving catches,
-Sean McGrath was not at practice again and his status has not changed (we've probably seen the last of him)
-Dwayne Bowe said it was nice to have everyone at camp and not have any holdouts
-Travis Kelce has been working interchangeably with Demetrius Harris as the 2nd string TE. They rotate snaps as 2nd and 3rd team TEs.
-Nico Johnson has fallen off the map. He didn't work with the first team on Kickoff or Punt return. Instead it's been James-Michael Johnson as the top backup ILB.
-Watching Dave Toub work the details on special teams may have been grueling, but there's no question his players will get it right, or they won't play. A lot of emphasis was on special teams in today's practice.

CHIEFS TRAINING CAMP REPORT 7/23/14

Jul 23, 2014 -- 4:09pm

By @TJCarpenterWHB

 

Jamaal Charles is woefully underpaid in the short term, so the reports he could potentially hold out of training camp, while certainly a shock to the system given the timing, was not necessarily a surprise given the facts at hand. As of 3:00 pm he was not at Chiefs Training Camp in St. Joe.


Justin Houston has outplayed his rookie contract and wants a new deal as well. His holdout is less surprising because of his absence from mandatory minicamp and OTAs. As of 3:00 pm he has not checked in to Chiefs training camp in St. Joe.

The Chiefs are being tight-lipped on the subject. According to one team official, “you will know when they are here or not when they show up to practice on Thursday afternoon.”


Isn’t this fun?


PRACTICE NOTES

Quarterbacks Alex Smith and Chase Daniel were not in attendance for today’s practice, which was the final of three for rookies and select veterans and injury listed players. Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray threw passes today and got in some extra work.


Corner Phillip Gaines sat out practice and watched from the sidelines with a hamstring injury along with running back Joe McKnight who was listed on the PUP list earlier this week.


According to his agent’s twitter account, the Chiefs are expected to sign linebacker Josh Mauga who played 29 games with the Jets, logging 44 tackles and an interception. The Chiefs will have to make room for Mauga on the 90-man roster for training camp as they are currently at the maximum.

CHIEFS TRAINING CAMP REPORT 7/22/14

Jul 22, 2014 -- 5:12pm

By @TJCarpenterWHB

Today marked the second day in a row running back DeAnthony Thomas had issues catching the football. Looking back at combine measurables, Thomas at 8-1/8" had the smallest hands of any of the 36 running backs. An NFL football is slightly smaller and a different shape than a college ball. It should also be noted, Thomas excels with the ball in his hands and may have some early camp jitters (wanting to make big plays and looking upfield too soon) to work through. It's not a major concern yet, but its something to keep an eye on as camp progresses. Thomas also worked primarily on screen passes today.

 
Travis Kelce looked to have some added burst today. Kelce is clearly an athletic specimen, the question is whether he will make it to the regular season healthy. Early signs point to Kelce possessing great potential. Let's wait until we see him in pads and in live tackling before we make too much out of his athleticism.
 
Similar to Kelce, DeMetrius Harris has shown great athletic ability at the tight end position. We have yet to see if Harris can do it in pads, which we'll see on Saturday for the first time. Sometimes Harris seems to make catches more difficult than they need to be. I would characterize him as "unnecessarily athletic" at times. He's a pure stud athletically, but fundamentally still very raw. I'd like to see a lot of progress in the details for him over the next month.
 
Frankie Hammond Jr. is your Training Camp All-Star so far, and he was great again today. Hammond will likely be a candidate to fill the role Junior Hemingway filled on special teams and in certain offensive situations for the Chiefs last season. Hemingway is looking to fill the void in the slot left by Dexter McCluster. In general, the wide receiving corps has a lot of opportunity for guys to step up and prove they deserve playing time.
 
Dee Ford is working primarily on his pass coverage skills until the veterans join practice on Thursday. Ford did not excel in pass coverage in college and has already put a lot of work in attempting to widen his skill-set in this regard.
 

For all the quarterback-crazies out there. Alex Smith... huge gap... Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray... gap... Aaron Murray. I have no idea at this point what the plan is in regards to carrying 4 quarterbacks on the roster. At this point, Bray seems like the odd man out given that the Chiefs would only save a million dollars by cutting Chase Daniel, who also has value beyond just his ability to throw an accurate pass.

CHIEFS TRAINING CAMP REPORT 7/21/14

Jul 21, 2014 -- 6:06pm
By @TJCarpenterWHB

It was the first day of rookie training camp. Rookies, first year players, injury listed players and quarterbacks were in attendance.
 
Corner David Van Dyke (hamstring) and Running back Joe McKnight (knee) have both been place on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP). 
 
At receiver, Frankie Hammond Jr. continues to make play after play. That being said, it's in practice, without pads. But if you're looking for a Training Camp All-Star candidate, he'd be at the top of the list right now.
 
In general the wide receivers did not look great on day one, dropping several passes. DeAnthony Thomas had some of the more egregious drops on the day, one in the endzone on a 5-yard pass.
 
Philip Gaines looked good today, knocking down several passes.
 
Travis Kelce looks healthy. He's been recovering from micro-fracture surgery over the last 9 months, and you can tell he hasn't seen the field in quite some time. Chase Daniel says Kelce is still trying to find his feet right now, but expects Kelce to be back to form soon. Kelce says he feels fine.
 
Aaron Murray also said he hasn't thought about his knee injury in months, which means he likely won't be an IR or PUP candidate for those thinking the Chiefs may try to stow him away while not taking up a roster spot.
 

There are only 3 offensive linemen and 2 defensive linemen at camp currently, so it's been fun watching coaches fill in the empty slots during 11-11 drills.

CHIEFS TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: ALEX SMITH’S CONTRACT

Jul 21, 2014 -- 7:30am

By TJ Carpenter

 

Alex Smith hasn’t said much about his contract this offseason, but what he has said would suggest he wants a deal with the Chiefs that both he and the organization are happy with both now and in the future. The necessity to get a deal done with Smith before the season starts isn’t as paramount as it is with Justin Houston because Smith seems less bothered by the uncertainty of what the future may hold. I would imagine that comes with the territory of being the number one overall pick, making massive amounts of money over the span of his career and being a veteran who has a wide array of experiences in the NFL.


It’s clear Smith’s agent Tom Condon isn’t going to budge on his asking price before the season begins, and given how a deal would affect the cap, that asking price is more than 15 million dollars a season, which is what most agree Smith is worth at this point. It advances the “Jay Culter’s contract really screwed everyone,” narrative that a lot of fans resort to when talking about this. I’m sure quarterbacks around the league think the opposite.


The price for Smith outside of Kansas City would likely be less than what he could get here, which is probably where the impasse lies. Andy Reid clearly likes Alex Smith and Smith likes Andy Reid. I’m guessing the same is probably not true of John Dorsey and Tom Condon at this moment. The Chiefs want to get a deal with Smith, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we leave St. Joe without a longterm deal in place.

Mizzou SEC Media Days Recap

Jul 17, 2014 -- 6:58am

By @TJCarpenterWHB

SEC Media days were a success for the Tigers for the first time. Two years ago, they were unknown at best and hated for arrogance at worst. A year ago, the Tigers were largely overlooked and because of that, considered a surprise when they won the eastern division and earned a trip to their first ever SEC Title game. This year, the Tigers came into Hoover Alabama, humble but hungry, ready for the season to begin, and while not without flaws, completely comfortable with their team and their new place in the Southeastern Conference.


The air around Pinkel and they Tigers as they migrated from room to room was, “we have arrived.” And it was well received.


The first two seasons in the SEC, should be considered in tandem, a success. But getting to the success and the level of comfort we saw at Media days was not without strife and took a lot of time and work. The question everyone was asking this year was, “What’s next?”


Pinkel was comfortable with their rocky start because of what came the next season, and seemed optimistic year number three would be more like year number two than year number one. I would agree, but duplicating success at that high a level is not easy.


Maty Mauk makes the engine go. Without him Missouri will not repeat as SEC East champs. Mauk returns with the second best passer rating of any returning QB in the SEC, behind only Nick Marshall. Their schedule is relatively easy, especially early, which means the Tigers can build momentum heading into their first conference game on the road against the Gamecocks. This team isn’t “special” like last year’s squad, but it absolutely has the potential to duplicate that success.


The biggest question offensively is whether Maty Mauk is truly a “special” talent. Mauk has more experience than most quarterbacks in his situation, which is good. Results last season were more positive than negative, but the fact that out of the four games Mauk started, only one (Kentucky) did he have a completions percentage over 50, is troubling. All indicators are he’s taken to being the leader of the team well. He walks, talks, and practices like the “alpha” dog. That’s an excellent sign, but whether he will play like one for 12-plus games remains to be seen. Losing Dorial Green-Beckham will hurt their receiving corps, but that doesn’t mean they are weak at the position. In fact, losing departing senior La’Damian Washington was more of a blow than DGB’s lack of self control. Bud Sasser and Darius White aren’t the impressive tandem their predecessors were on paper, but Mauk doesn’t need future NFL wideouts to win games, he needs sure handed assignment sound targets, which White and Sasser are. Both Marcus Murphy and Russell Hansbrough rushed for over 600 yards last season in addition to Henry Josey. Both will be a factor in the running game, the strength of which is its efficient use of space. Perhaps the greatest positive for the Missouri offense is that the offensive line returns Evan Boehm and two other starters. Boehm already has a massive amount of experience for his age, which has been one of the single greatest indicators of success at the position throughout the SEC’s history. Mitch Morse will also be a huge impact at tackle. All in all, look for Mizzou’s offense to have one star, Mauk, and an incredible supporting cast. Without Maty Mauk however, the offense becomes as rudderless ship.


If you were worried about losing the two most productive pass rushers in the conference from last season, that’s natural, but you shouldn’t be. Markus Golden and Shane Ray were excellent in spelling Kony Ealy and Michael Sam last season. The pressure never really stopped. The question is whether the backups to last year’s backups will be able to do the same, there will be a drop-off, it’s inevitable, but not a significant one. Expect Mizzou to be one of the better pass-rushing teams in the division yet again. The question is at the Sam and Mike linebacker positions as well as the corners. Can a pair of sophomore corners, Aarion Penton and John Gibson keep bigger more experience wide receivers in the conference at bay. We don’t know, and that is never good. Hopefully Kentrell Brothers, Braylon Webb and Ian Simon can provide enough leadership and assignment sound defense to make up for the lack of experience surrounding them.


The pass rush is still there, but Mizzou is going to have to score points to win games. The offense must be the strength of the team and Maty Mauk must be its star. Those stipulations are met and the Tigers are contenders in the East again. If not, expect a season not unlike 2012 for Missouri.

The day was not without controversy for Mizzou. Pinkel did call the health concerns some (Bret Bielema and Nick Saban) in the conference have voiced over the uptempo hurry up no huddle offenses many NCAA teams have adopted “fiction.” Mizzou isn’t necessarily uptempo, as Pinkel himself would say, but his comments aren’t necessarily accurate. While its clear he feels strongly concerns about uptempo play may have ulterior motives, calling concerns “complete fiction” misrepresents the fact that both sickle cell trait and asthma complications are significantly worsened by exhaustion often resulting in death, which the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) has warned its members and the country about for years. Has someone died directly from an opposing team running that offense and died in game on a national stage? No. Does that mean it isn’t a real possibility? No. And for that reason, calling it “total fiction” is just as “fictional” as the alleged ulterior motives Bielema and Saban have been accused of.


All that being said, Pinkel didn’t shy away from a hot-button topic, represented Mizzou and his team’s prospects well, and had an excellent media day. The phrase to describe Mizzou’s feeling coming into this season: confident optimism.


Finally, I said two year’s ago, “welcome to the SEC.” today I  don’t have to, because Mizzou has already arrived.

 

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