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Chiefs’ wide receivers know they must move on quickly from sloppy Week 1

Kansas City’s pass catchers know what they must do to avoid another loss.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Nine years ago — after suffering an embarrassing Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night FootballNew England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick created a new catchphrase for moving on by repeatedly insisting his squad was “on to Cincinnati.”

The Chiefs may be able to sympathize with the eventual Super Bowl XLIX Champion 2014 Patriots after dropping their season opener 21-20 to the Detroit Lions last week. A dreadful performance by the wide receiver corps takes a heavy share of the blame for the loss.

Heading into their Week 2 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City’s pass catchers appear to be echoing Belichick’s example in responding to adversity.

“It’s been good,” wide receiver Skyy Moore said on Thursday of the week’s preparations. “We had a good practice yesterday [Wednesday]. We got to watch the film as soon as we came in on Tuesday — and we’re on to Jacksonville.”

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Going into the opener, Moore was expected to take advantage of star tight end Travis Kelce’s absence and become a check-down target for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The second-year player would finish the night with zero catches on three targets.

Before Thursday’s practice, Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy expressed confidence that Moore will rebound from a disappointing performance — citing his crucial punt return in the AFC Championship Game after multiple muffed opportunities in his rookie season.

“I look at Skyy,” Nagy declared, “and if there’s one guy on that offense when you talk about the mental side and how you get back to the next game. What an awesome story of him last year going through what he went through with some of the muffs on punts and special teams — and then for him to do what he did at the end of the year. Me just knowing Skyy — who he is as a person [and] how mentally resilient he is — I have no concerns at all that he’s going to be able to bounce back and have a great year.”

Nagy also does not worry that the criticism of Moore’s Week One performance will stick with the player.

“Skyy’s a positive guy,” the coach stated, “and he gets stronger sometimes by maybe even being questioned on where he is with that kind of stuff. I kind of like that because I believe in him — and I know we do as a staff and teammates. We’re looking forward to him growing.”

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice flashed potential in the loss after recording a 25-yard reception and a goal-line touchdown reception. The first-year pro agrees with Moore on the quality of this week’s practice.

“I would say,” Rice explained, “that we’re focusing on being able to clear out the little stuff we’ve got going on – dropped balls and stuff like that. Practice was probably the best I’ve been a part of in a while – even with training camp. Yesterday was a great practice because we were paying attention to details.”

Nagy — a longtime disciple of Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid — cited his mentor as an example of moving past a poor performance.

“I know the drops was a big deal for all of us,” Nagy recalled, “but we got to be able to —whatever that is, whatever that means this week in practice, the days after the game mentally, [or] physically — do everything we can to be better. Also, not let it be something that you think about all the time, and I think that’s Coach Reid’s greatest strength — and I think that’s a lot of the players strength — is that we move on, and we show belief and trust in each other, and then we understand that when we get back out there, we all need to be better, everybody.”

Exactly how many passes were dropped on Thursday has become a matter of debate in the week since. Nagy weighed in on the degree to which players should be blamed.

“There’s going to be some of the plays,” he acknowledged, “where a guy’s running full speed, and he’s running a slant route — where there’s no one on him, and it’s not contested. It hits his hands, but it’s a difficult catch.

“I think there’s levels to different types of catches, and everybody sees it differently — until you’re the wide receiver and you have to actually run out there and try catch the ball and have somebody get ready to hit you and have somebody on your back. It’s not easy, but these guys are professionals.”

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

However, should the team need ideas for improved pass-catching, Rice appeared to have one.

“The way you practice catching balls,” the SMU product claimed, “is you just make it repetition. Before practice – you catch balls. During practice – you’re catching balls. For me personally, after practice I catch tennis balls just because it’s a smaller ball to catch so it makes it harder. It makes me have to focus on watching the ball and always my hands. When it comes to catching the football, it makes it a lot easier.”

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