These numbers seem modest for Maclin, who is unchallenged as the Chiefs’ go-to wide receiver. He caught 87 passes for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns last season, his first with the Chiefs, despite missing a game because of a concussion. Alex Smith will target Maclin more than any of the other receivers, so it’s reasonable to think Maclin will at least reach his numbers from last season.
Charles participated in practice for only about 25 minutes, during individual and position drills. Even then, he was seventh and last in line among their running backs like he was some undrafted rookie hoping for a job rather than one of the NFL’s most accomplished backs.
"’How do you know that play?’ It’s always like, ‘D.J., why did you move that way?’ Well, I’m like, ‘I’ve been playing it for a hundred years now’," Johnson joked after practice Tuesday. Johnson’s leadership has never been more valuable to the Chiefs. With Justin Houston and Tamba Hali still working their way back from injuries, Johnson is the undisputed leader of a linebacking corps loaded with young talent, fresh faces and veterans in new roles.
Charles participated in stretching and on-field drills with the running backs, then departed for the training facility when team drills began. Burkholder said that pattern may continue for the next few days as Charles works himself back into playing condition. "He did fine in my mind," Burkholder said. "We’ve done that with him as athletic trainers. What we saw was what we expected. We took him up and he did his rehab this morning. Tomorrow’s another day."
One player who stood out was receiver Chris Conley, who seemingly caught everything in sight during the team period and might be showing signs of becoming a reliable target. Conley caught all sorts of passes from quarterback Alex Smith on Tuesday — some easy, some tough — but throughout it all, he displayed a knack for creating a window for his quarterback to throw the ball. Smith connected with Conley at least six times in the team session, with some of them going for touchdowns.
"Any time Alex comes my way, my job is to be there for him," Maclin said. "And if I do that — the numbers, the stats, everything else will come." Maclin was as reliable as they come last season. More than 70 percent of the passes thrown his way resulted in completions. According to Football Outsiders, only Seattle’s Doug Baldwin (76 percent) and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (75 percent) had better catch rates than Maclin did among NFL wide receivers last year.