KC Chiefs training camp 2013: A rainy day 4 practice report

The Kansas City Chiefs practiced in the rain on Monday for the team's fourth practice of training camp. The highlights include the loss of Eric Berry (but don't worry!), full-on tackling to the ground for the first time in camp and an update on the Chiefs special teams.

Rain day

I did NOT think the Chiefs would be practicing outside based on how my ride up to St. Joe went this morning. The alternative was practicing inside, which would mean practice is closed to the public.

The rain was coming down steadily on my entire drive up I-29. I arrived at the Chiefs practice fields on the Missouri Western State University campus and the rain just stopped. It was cloudy with only a slight drizzle for almost all of practice. The rain picked back up near the end of practice as the Chiefs were working on punt returns.

The rain didn't affect the way the Chiefs did things.

"It's not a bad thing," Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said. "It's a bad weather day, you get to practice the wet ball drills."

There weren't as many fans out here as this past weekend but those who were here brought umbrellas and stayed somewhat dry until the rain started coming down harder near the end of practice.

Chiefs cheerleaders did their best at staying dry:

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It was also season ticket holder day. They had a tent:

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Down goes Eric Berry -- but he's fine!

I did not see the play in which Berry was apparently injured but at some point he came off the field. He was working on the sidelines, stretching with an assistant coach. He did not look seriously hurt.

After practice we found out he had a minor hamstring injury. Sitting him out was just precautionary, the Chiefs said.

With Berry out, Quintin Demps stepped in at safety. He's no Eric Berry, we know that, but he's also no slouch. He will see playing time this season in some way.

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We have tackling

For the first time in camp, there was live tackling going on. Yes, Jamaal Charles took a handoff and was tackled. I gotta admit: it concerned me. I have too much anxiety to be watching guys like Charles and Dwayne Bowe getting tackled on a wet field in camp.

The players we talked to, however, enjoyed it. Clark Hunt even mentioned that tackling is the name of the game. It's part of football and it's something you just have to do. We asked Sean Smith if he saw Charles coming around the corner, would he hit him 100 percent. He said he would.

There was only one session that was full tackling to the ground, but it was entertaining. This is not something I remember the Chiefs doing under Romeo Crennel or Todd Haley.

A few tackling observations:

  • Dexter McCluster caught the first two passes -- one on the right sideline and the other over the middle.
  • Tony Moeaki caught one across the middle, which is about the only time I see him catching the pass. It seems like it's always over the middle with him.
  • Alex threw it away on one play, which would have been a sack if the defense could hit the quarterback.
  • Anthony Fasano had a drop in this session.
  • The pocket opened for Chase on one drop back and he took off up the middle. Big hole.
  • Knile had one of the best plays of the day when he, in the live tackling drill, broke a tackle down the right sideline and rumbled for 20-plus yards. The fans were going wild.
  • Jamaal Charles had a nice run up the middle that involved a cut back right as he passed the line of scrimmage. Reminder: Jamaal is fast as hell!
A few non-tackling observations:

  • Chiefs assistant line coach Eugene Chung has the loudest voice on the field.
  • The coaches told the receivers to run out of the huddle and into their spots. Tempo!
  • Jon Baldwin wasn't looking on one slant and the ball hit him right in the stomach. Incomplete.
  • Donnie Avery had a couple of nice catches. One came on the right sideline with a defender in his face. He leaped in the air to pull the ball down and the refs ruled it a catch. The second one was more questionable whether it was in bounds or out, but it was also a nice over-the-shoulder deep ball with a man on him. If I were the ref, I would rule him out of bounds.
  • Otha Foster III, undrafted rookie, picked off a Ricky Stanzi pass. Debatable whether he would've taken it back for six if it were live.
  • The Chiefs worked on their running game for a little bit today. So much fun watching DJ burst through the line. The guy is everywhere.
  • Receivers were working against the defensive backs. Dwayne Bowe ran an out pattern near the sideline and Alex Smith laid it in the perfect spot to make the catch. It's the kind of throw that Aaron Rodgers is so good at.
  • In the same drill, Tyler Shoemaker stretched his hands out all the way to barely pull in a deep ball. He had a couple of steps on the defender and I still don't know how he held onto that ball considering it was wet.
  • Another bobbled exchange between Eric Kush and Chase Daniel.
  • I could watch Tamba Hali and Branden Albert go at it one-on-one all day long. That's fun. Hali handled Albert on one play and Albert walked away laughing knowing he got beat.
  • After that play, John Dorsey talked to Albert and it appeared from a distance he was giving him some instruction. Coach Dorsey?
  • Another fun match-up: Bowe vs. Flowers. Bowe won one round, diving back towards the quarterback to make a play. Flowers, of course, was all over him.
  • There was at least one drop from Jamaal Charles. Another one he appeared to drop but the players responded as if it were a fumble, so it was one of the two.
  • Travis Kelce is long. One pass from Alex Smith was high but Kelce effortlessly tipped it back to himself for the catch.
  • The Chiefs were working on one end of the field. Shaun Draughn took a handoff in the non-tackling portion of the drill and ran it from one end of the field to the other, going through the end zone. Yes, the fans cheered him on.
Jeff Allen remains out

Nothing new on the most notable injury of camp. Jeff Allen, left guard, remains out. He was working on the sidelines with the trainers throughout practice.

Geoff Schwartz replaced him at guard. Donald Stephenson also saw some reps at left guard.

Allen's injury is said to be day-to-day. This was his second missed practice since injuring it on Saturday.

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Back to the trainers tent for Dunta Robinson

This is the third time in just the fourth practice that Dunta has gone to the trainers tent. It was a hamstring over the weekend. No word on what today's issue was but he was not practicing the entire time. He dressed out so I thought at first he would practice but then I noticed him on the sidelines later in practice.

This just in: Dustin Colquitt's still the man

Your breaking news update of the day:

"I've had a lot of good punters that I worked with in Chicago," Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said after practice, "Colquitt's different than those guys and he's a lot better in a lot of ways He's a lot more powerful. Some of the things we do on the punt team, we're going to utilize his tools. We're going to let him bomb the balls at times and cover it. We're also asking him to do some directional stuff which he's buying into. He's very talented and we're lucky to have him."

"I actually have more time now than I had at Chicago which is really a credit to Andy and the importance he puts on special teams."

The most honest answer of camp

Unfortunately it's just about a long snapper. Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub was asked about his analysis of the long snapper position, which includes the incumbent Thomas Gafford and the rookie Brad Madison. Toub said that Gafford had some bad snaps last year so he brought in some competition. That competition, Toub says, got Gafford going and he's really improved. Toub flat-out stated that Gafford is playing better than Madison right now.

Again, it's just the long snapper but the brutal honesty here was appreciated.

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Clark Hunt attends practice

KC Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was in attendance at today's camp. He was spotted on the sidelines talking with John Dorsey during part of camp. He talked to the media following practice.

A couple topics covered:

-The contract tying the Chiefs training camp to MWSU ends after next year's training camp. After that it is a year by year option to keep the team in St. Joe. Clark Hunt said there was no decision on how they'll handle that but indicated that both he and Andy Reid (who talked publicly about this) enjoy going up to camp. Clark said outside of not having a lunch room and dorms at the Chiefs complex, it's feasible to have it in Kansas City. But my early impression is that he hopes it stays in St. Joe.

-Clark also said that Andy Reid is a good communicator, updating him on what's going on with the team. I asked him what their communication was like, if he's getting updates on the third team battle at defensive end and things like that. He said it wasn't quite that in depth but Reid does talk regularly with him, which is a change from how the Chiefs handled their reporting structure in the past. Remember, both the GM and head coach report to the owner now.

(Terrible photography skills here can be attributed to the rain)

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Best jersey

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Worst jersey

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Best photo of John Dorsey when he's not looking

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