Chiefs Training Camp Update 8/17: What You Need to Know from The Mothership
There were a handful of plays that stood out during Monday's practice, and each of them involved a player catching a pass, although two of them were on the defensive side of the ball.
Rookie first-round pick
Marcus Peters, who has already shown a knack for picking off passes at practice, made another nice play in team work on Wednesday. He jumped in front of a curl route that was intended for veteran Jeremy Maclin.
A little bit later in practice, veteran safety
Husain Abdullahhopped in front of a slant intended for Anthony Shermanand picked off the pass for what would have been a pick-six return for a touchdown.
On the offensive side of the ball,
Jeret Smithmade the catch of the day and maybe the catch of training camp thus far when he laid out for a pass across the middle and was fully extended before securing the catch as he hit the ground.
What We Learned From Monday's Chiefs Media Availability from The Mothership
Eric Fisherleft practice early with a sprained ankle.
"They're going to look at it," Reid said. "I'm not sure exactly what it is yet, but it's an ankle sprain. That's what I've been told. They'll X-ray it and MRI it and see what the deal is."
When Fisher went down, offensive lineman
Donald Stephensonmoved over to left tackle and Jarrod Pughsleystepped in at the then vacant right tackle position.
"We saw good things in the game, then we saw good things today," he said of Pughsley. "He had a lot of reps. He's not short on opportunities out here. He got a lot of reps in the game then we asked him to come out here and take a lot of reps today, so I'm sure he's a little bit tired and sore. But he did a nice job of pushing through it."
Social Recap: Gameday Prep and Reaction from The Mothership
A roundup of the past few days in Chiefs social media
Chiefs Download Podcast: Grant Curtis, Director of the ESPN 30 for 30, "Delaney"
LT Eric Fisher, DB Sanders Commings among Chiefs' injuries Monday from Chiefs Digest
The injury bug reared its head yet again Monday at Chiefs training camp.
Left tackle Eric Fisher, safety Sanders Commings and offensive tackle Tavon Rooks and left the practice field with various ailments, while rookie inside linebacker Justin March was not present.
Fisher suffered an ankle sprain during 9-on-7 drills and was taken up the hill on a cart. The third-year pro had a noticeable limp.
"He'll have that checked afterwards here with an MRI," coach Andy Reid said after practice
The Chiefs tried during the offseason to build some depth at the offensive line positions. They traded for Ben Grubbs, signed Paul Fanaika and drafted Mitch Morse in the second round.
Those plans are starting to unravel. Fisher might not be the Chiefs' best lineman, but he is their most valuable one. He has as much ability as any of their linemen, and if he can ever become the player the Chiefs envisioned when they drafted him, many of their other offensive line woes disappear.
Similarly, Allen might be the Chiefs' next most irreplaceable lineman. He is one of their most experienced lineman and can play tackle or guard or, in a pinch, center.
Chiefs starting LT Eric Fisher leaves practice with ankle injury from Chiefs Digest
Prior to Fisher's injury, the Chiefs had Fisher at left tackle, Ben Grubbs at left guard, rookie Mitch Morse at center, second-year pro Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard and Stephenson.
Monday marked the first time Duvernay-Tardif worked with the first-team offense in training camp.
OT Eric Fisher limps off field as Chiefs resume training camp from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
Ben Grubbs remains at left guard, but he's the only player on the offensive line who was in the initial five for training camp. Donald Stephenson has moved from right tackle to left, and Jarrod Pughsley -- a former undrafted free agent out of Akron -- is now the right tackle. Mitch Morse has taken over at center and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been working out at guard.
Grubbs has started 118 games in the NFL. The rest of that line? Fourteen.
Reid seems unperturbed, though. He has always taken a "next man up" mentality, and it was no different with his offensive line Monday. He barely glanced at Fisher as he limped to the sideline, instead focusing on the nine-on-seven drill during which the big offensive tackle was hurt.
Besides, some of the other guys have performed well in camp.
Proof arrived in his football world Monday when the Chiefs, in their search for the right combination of players for their offensive line, put Duvernay-Tardif in the starting lineup at right guard.
The move isn't necessarily permanent. But Duvernay-Tardif likely will stay in the lineup at least through Friday night's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium.
If he stays as a starter when the regular season begins, that would be validation for the Chiefs, who saw Duvernay-Tardif's football ability and were willing to work around his medical school commitments, despite the fact he played in college at Canada's McGill University.
It would also be a validation for Duvernay-Tardif; proof that he can live in two very demanding worlds. Training camp is the one time of year, he said, when it's all about football for him.
Chiefs rookie LB Ramik Wilson grabs first interception, eyes playing time from Chiefs Digest
Kansas City's initial preseason game contained plenty of firsts for rookie linebacker Ramik Wilson.
For starters, it was his first time in a Chiefs uniform, subsequently resulting in his first tackle and first interception in the pros.
But his interception wasn't only his first one as a professional.
That was his first one ever.
The Chiefs threw only 27 deep passes all of last season, dead last in the league. Have you and Alex talked about opening up the offense a bit and taking more chances down field?
Maclin: I think me and Alex are off to a great start. I think our comfort level with each other is pretty high. It kind of feels like this is not our first rodeo. I think we've hooked up a lot in practice on timing, on plays where he is just kind of throwing the ball and trusting me to make the play and stuff like that. I think we want to continue to get better, but I think we're off to a great, great start.
Four players flying under the radar for spots on Chiefs' roster from Chiefs Digest
There are 90 players on the Chiefs roster fighting for 53 spots, and then 10 jobs on the club's practice squad.
Even the casual fan can fill the first 30-35 of those slots based on returning players, 2015 draft choices and those added in the offseason for big-dollar contracts.
The fight for the remaining 18 jobs is an every-day constant for those dreaming of an opportunity to play in the NFL regular season. Every year undrafted rookies and free agents off the street seemingly come out of nowhere to land in the opening 53-man group.
Here are four current Chiefs that are flying under the radar, with little public attention from fans and the media. These players still face long odds and must have other factors fall in their favor for roster success.
When it comes to the decision makers that will shape the roster, they are very much on the radar screen.
Offensive line (9): Eric Fisher, Ben Grubbs, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Jeff Allen, Donald Stephenson, Paul Fanaika, Eric Kush, Zach Fulton.
Released (7): Anthony Dima, Garrett Frye, Daniel Munyer, Jarrod Pughsley,Marcus Reed, Tavon Rooks, Derek Sherrod.
I'm assuming here that the injuries to Fisher and Allen won't keep them out for a long period of time. If either one isn't ready for the regular season, the Chiefs will have to make some adjustments. Pughsley would be the next tackle to make it. Sherrod could be another option.
Chiefs sign LB Ja'Gared Davis, waive WR Adam Drake from Cheifs Digest
The signing of Davis addressed depth as the Chiefs deal with injuries to linebackers Josh Mauga (heel), D.J. Alexander (ankle) and Justin March (knee). Neither player practiced Monday.
Davis previously spent a brief stint on the Chiefs practice squad in 2014, originally joining the team on Nov. 24 days after being waived by the New England Patriots.
The good folks at numberfire.com have crunched the figures and came up with this calculation: The Kansas City Chiefs have a 38.4 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 23.5 percent shot at winning the AFC West.
Two immediate thoughts on my part. One, those numbers are probably higher than at any time since the Denver Broncos acquired Peyton Manning as their starting quarterback in 2012. Two, they're still too low.
Film remembers Kansas City Chiefs hero from The Daily Star-Journal
Curtis said Delaney brought excitement to Arrowhead Stadium.
"There's a very famous play, when they are playing the Denver Broncos, where he ran for an incredible (77)-yard touchdown. ... There was a flag on the play. The very next play he ran an 82-yard touchdown. Joe had that burst of speed that people couldn't catch," Curtis said.
Former Denver Bronco linebacker and Rozelle Award winner for broadcasting Tom Jackson told Curtis running after Delaney felt like trying to catch a ghost.
Curtis said former Chiefs General Manager Jim Schaaf and Ken Kremer, Delaney's teammate, compared Delaney's talents to Jamaal Charles. Charles' 5.5 career yards per carry average is first all-time among qualifying running backs.
Before he could fly ... Charles had to overcome fears, disabilities from The Kansas City Star via The Port Arthur News
Before Charles showed world-class potential as a sprinter at the University of Texas, ran for the most yards in Chiefs franchise history and averaged more yards a carry, 5.5, than any NFL player ever, a learning disability eroded his confidence in all that he did.
In a town battling the typical tolls of poverty, without his father in his life, Charles ultimately took flight because of a nurturing extended family, plus teachers and friends in special education classes. Classes that led him to what he considered a life-changing opportunity to compete in Special Olympics at age 10.
"In classrooms, I felt I was the last one in the back," Charles said in a series of recent interviews with The Star in which he offered a rare glimpse into his childhood challenges.
"When I got in the classroom, people didn't want to be my friend. But when I stepped on the field, everyone wanted to be my friend."
The 33 women who make up the Chiefs cheerleading squad have been training like athletes every week since auditioning back in March.
"We have practice for 4 hours, twice a week and games on Sunday," said Chiefs cheerleader, Hannah. "Outside of that, we have personal trainers. So they've given us our own individualized plans we follow on our off days."
Outside of the training and practices, these women also have full-time careers.
Through NFL camps from RDS.ca [translated from the original French]
Duvernay-Tardif is in his second season with the Chiefs. Sixth-round pick of the team draft pick in 2014, former McGill Redmen has carved out a position in the training of 53 players on the team last season, but not in uniform for the Either of the 16 regular season games.
"I think it has made good progress compared to his rookie season, Reid said in an interview with chiefsdigest.com website. The bulk of his work was to better understand the game to play at this level. Very strong and athletic, he is also intelligent. As I mentioned last year, everything he needs, that are repeats. Every time he gets it improves.This is a good football player. "