When the Chiefs returned to practice on Thursday, the offense came out and had one of its worst practices as a group, while the defense was able to shine. Yesterday, the offense responded by executing and fixing a lot of the mistakes from the previous day. On Saturday morning, in front of a record crowd of 6,000 plus, both the offense and defense were able to give the fans a show.
Reports out of camp were that on the first play of 11 on 11 drills, linebacker Derrick Johnson came screaming through the middle and stuffed the ball carrier at the thighs, something that Johnson has become quite good at the last few seasons. On the third play, Alex Smith threw a dime up the middle of the field to receiver Dexter McCluster that resulted in the first score of the scrimmage, and drew a loud cheer from the fans in the stands. A lot of reports indicated that Alex Smith was, at times, “deadly” accurate with his throws.
The tight end group really shined today as well. Quarterback, Chase Daniel connected with rookie tight end Travis Kelce, in which Kelce was able to break a few tackles and high step into the end zone. Tony Moeaki also caught a beautiful over the shoulder pass from Smith that resulted in a touchdown. The tight end group this camp has been one of the best competitions.
A lot of fans, and analysts, speculated that Moeaki may be on the hot seat and could see his way off this roster by the time the regular season was ready to start. From the sounds of it, Moeaki has looked sharp and has been running routes and catching the ball like he did when he first arrived in 2010. I believe the Chiefs will roll into the regular season with all three tight ends on the roster. Having three pass catching tight ends should really help open things up on the outside. After all, Alex Smith loved throwing to his tight ends in San Francisco.
The receiving group also got involved today. Donnie Avery was able to beat corner back, Sean Smith on a deep route and Dwayne Bowe was able to haul in a circus catch that he tipped to himself. Jon Baldwin continued his rough camp. Baldwin was able to get by Sean Smith’s coverage but dropped the ball. It was reported that he went to the trainers holding his wrist after the play but later returned to drills. One interesting note from today too was that the Chiefs lined up receiver, Junior Hemmingway in the back field and gave him a hand off up the middle. Not sure what the Chiefs are thinking, but it should be interesting to watch.
The defense had a pretty solid day as well. As I mentioned before, Derrick Johnson got it started by blowing up the very first play. cornerback, Brandon Flowers got in the mix today as well by breaking up a fade route to receiver, Donnie Avery, and forcing Chase Daniel to throw a pass away.
Once again, the Chiefs defense has been extremely effective when they use their blitz packages and can apply pressure. Apparently no one in camp can block linebacker Justin Houston. He’s constantly driving, or getting around his would-be blockers.
The defense has also been showing a formation where Tamba Hali and Houston have been lining up on the same side, causing complete confusion for the offensive fronts. New defensive lineman, Mike DeVito made a nice play as well after bull rushing guard Jeff Allen straight back into the quarterback.
One of the more encouraging things I heard out of camp today was how good rookie linebacker, Nico Johnson looked today. Johnson was able to stuff Jamaal Charles at the line of scrimmage and also do the same to fellow rookie, Knile Davis. Johnson was drafted in the fourth round to be a run stuffer and has shown that ability well so far in camp.
Encouraging day yet again from Chiefs training camp. Practice resumes at 8:15 AM Sunday morning.