From the Truman Sports Complex
The Chiefs are more than halfway through their allotted 10 OTA practices and improvement is visible in all three phases over a half-dozen sessions, including Thursday’s work that was pushed inside due to the morning rain.
“We are at the halfway point and feel good about the competition,” said Andy Reid. “It’s going back and forth between the offense and the defense, with each one making plays. We are getting good special teams work in. The young guys are improving.”
On Thursday, the practice plan included more plays with the offense looking for the deep ball and all four quarterbacks hit and missed on throws down the field. The two best catches were by tight ends. Anthony Fasano caught a pass on his outstretched finger tips from Alex Smith and Demetrius Harris came back and topped that, stretching for a deep pass thrown by Tyler Bray, grabbing it and keeping his body in bounds for a legal reception.
Smith was able to go long on the first play of the teamwork portion of practice, hitting wide receiver Dwayne Bowe who was flying down the right side after beating cornerback Marcus Cooper off the line of scrimmage. Bray hooked up with wide receiver Frankie Hammond on a long touchdown pass down the right side, beating rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines in coverage.
Bowe continues to draw attention in the OTAs.
“Dwayne came back in phenomenal shape,” said Reid. “It looks like it out there; he’s really moving around well. He’s in the right frame of mind.”
Smith definitely seems to be looking for Bowe more often in the offense the Chiefs are showing in these practices. Reid said that’s due more to an increased understanding of the offense by both quarterback and receiver.
“I think he’s more familiar with all of his receivers, Dwayne included, and he’s more familiar with the offense,” Reid said of his starting quarterback. “They all are (more familiar); that’s the next step in being better than they were last year.”
Reid said there was some good competition going on at tight end, where Fasano and Sean McGrath have both returned in good shape, and Harris has made the transition from basketball player, to an NFL tight end.
“At this time last year I thought we were in a pretty good spot with the tight ends and then we had injuries,” Reid said. “What we’re doing (with the position) there’s not much difference with the things we are doing. Some guys are a little bit older now and getting the hang of things.”
OTA notes: the Chiefs roster stands at 89 now after the release earlier this week of offensive tackle Colin Kelly . . . 79 players were on the field taking part in the Thursday practice. Running back/receiver De’Anthony Thomas is not allowed to participate due to NFL regulations. Cornerback Brandon Flowers and outside linebacker Justin Houston both continued their no-show approach to the voluntary work. Cornerback Sean Smith did not practice on Thursday and Reid said he was gone for personal reasons . . . on the injury front, six players could not practice: wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (hamstring), tight end Travis Kelce (knee), wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee), defensive tackle Risean Broussard (knee), linebacker Ben Johnson (hamstring) and cornerback David Van Dyke (hamstring) . . . there will be four OTA sessions next week, finishing up the allotment of 10 practices allowed. That will be followed by a three-day mandatory mini-camp the next week.