From the Truman Sports Complex
Day No. 2 of Andy’s Camp for rookies was a good sight better than what the group of 60-plus players showed on Friday.
There were indications that players knew where they were supposed to be, and they got there with a minimum amount of stopping and starting. Oh, it was far from perfect but it was much improved over the fire drill that went down the day before inside the Chiefs practice facility.
Despite sunny skies, Andy Reid had his rookies inside again on Saturday and the offense showed it had made some strides in picking up the Chiefs offense with its shifting and motion.
(That’s 3rd-round pick Knile Davis on the left; he’s gotten a lot of work with the No. 1 offense.)
One example β in the 7-on-7 passing drill on Friday, it was a struggle for QB Tyler Bray to complete a pass. Defenders were jumping in front of receivers that were running poor routes, receivers were dropping passes, or Bray was over and under throwing them.
Saturday, Bray’s first segment in the 7-on-7 showed him completing every one of his seven attempts, including a couple of nice catches by WR Junior Hemingway and TE Demetrius Harris. When he came back for his second segment, he was five of five.
It was far from perfect however, as the quarterbacks seemed to be having more problems with snaps and handoffs on Saturday β that put the ball on the ground quite a few times. At one point Bray and center Eric Kush spent time practicing snaps while others were working the plays.
Here’s more of what went down on Saturday afternoon:
HOOPS TIGHT END SHOWS IMPROVEMENT β It was a much better practice for basketball player turned tight end Demetrius Harris on Saturday. Of course, it could only have been better since Friday’s session was so poor for the young man from UW-Milwaukee.
Harris seemed sure of where he was supposed to be on the field, and seemed to handle the motion and shifting with few problems. Where he also showed his raw ability was in catching the ball. On Friday there were drops everywhere, but there was little of that 24 hours later. In fact, Harris made a great catch on a throw from Bray where he caught it only with his hands, his arms getting a slight edge on a couple of defenders going for the ball as well.
“Just to get to learn the basics first and try to really learn the plays first because that’s what is really holding me back,” Harris said of his goals for the mini-camp. “Learning the plays and getting to know the routes and stuff.”
His ability to concentrate with defenders around him and to make the catch only with his hands β¦ those are NFL attributes. The question now will be whether he can continue to repeat them.
FROM OUTSIDE LINEBACKER TO RUNNING BACK? β The roster the Chiefs released for the rookie mini-camp had tryout players Toben Opurum of Kansas and E.J. Epperson of Mississippi listed as DE/LB. Those are the positions they played last season.
But in the rookie mini-camp they are working as running backs, specifically fullback.
The backfield is not foreign to either player. Epperson was a fullback until the 2012 season at Ole Miss before he was shifted to defensive end in last year’s pre-season camp. Opurum was the Jayhawks leading rusher in 2009 as a freshman when he ran for 554 yards.
It’s a tough deal to come into their first taste of the NFL playing in a new position. Among the running backs in camp, they’ve gotten the fewest number of practice snaps.
OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLING β As expected in a camp like this one, the coaching staff moved some bodies around on Saturday, especially along the offensive line. First-year blocker Lucas Patterson was with the No. 1 offensive line at right guard, instead of first-year OL Tommie Draheim. Tryout OL Shea Allard moved into the first unit at LG, replacing undrafted free agent Colin Kelly.
The second line had undrafted free agent A.J. Hawkins working at center, after playing right guard on Friday.
MISC. β Tryout RB Jordan Roberts went down in practice and hobbled off the field, suffering from cramps. He did not return. Tryout TE Jordan Thompson did not practice apparently because of injury β¦ First-year wide receiver Junior Hemingway flashed a bit more in Saturday’s practice; given his experience of being around the team last season, he should stand a slight level above the youngsters. Hemingway made several nice catches during the afternoon β¦ undrafted free agent WR Rico Richardson had another nice catch on a long pass from Bray β¦ free agent OLB Josh Martin out of Columbia has been used mainly in a pass rushing role with the base defense and the No. 1 sub-defense. But he dropped into coverage Saturday and got both hands on a pass intended for TE Travis Kelce β¦ free agent DB Otha Foster made a nice play at safety, as he quickly moved across the field and knocked down a pass that looked like it was going to be a catch by WR Frankie Hammond.
The Chiefs will have one more practice on Sunday to wrap up the three-day rookie mini-camp.