Examining the Kansas City Chiefs' roster:


The Chiefs could go a lot of different directions here. The only certainty is a healthy Smith will start. Daniel, the veteran backup, could be traded if the Chiefs determine that either Bray or their other developmental prospect, Aaron Murray, is ready to be the No. 2. That’s unlikely, so the Chiefs need to determine what to do with Murray. They didn’t draft him to release him, so he could go on the injured reserve list. The Chiefs could also keep four quarterbacks. Whatever they do, the Chiefs should keep Bray, who is too talented to turn loose.


There’s room for another player here if the Chiefs believe they need to keep two running backs in addition to Charles and Sherman, the fullback. They needed three in last season’s playoff game in Indianapolis. Thomas is listed as a back and has been getting some work as one, but he’s too small to be an every-down player if that’s what the Chiefs require. So Cyrus Gray, a useful special-teams player, could also stick.


Other than perhaps Bowe, the Chiefs don't have a top-level receiver but they have some interesting roster candidates. Hammond and Williams are among them and each is off to a strong start at training camp.


Kelce’s troublesome knee could impact the roster decisions here. If his knee remains balky, the Chiefs could keep Richard Gordon.


One starting tackle, Stephenson, injured an ankle while the other, Fisher, is limited because of a balky shoulder. So the Chiefs may have to keep an extra tackle and Harris could be it. He's getting a long look in training camp.


There’s no need to keep more linemen, not with Poe playing so many snaps and the Chiefs occasionally using only two linemen, and sometimes one.


At no other position on defense is the starting lineup so set with Derrick Johnson and Mays on the inside and Houston and Hali on the outside.



For the time being, at least, Cooper and Parker are the starters and Smith, their most accomplished cornerback, is running with the second team.



Commings has yet to practice at training camp because of an injured foot. If he doesn't return soon, the Chiefs may be forced to look for additional help here.


Rookie Cairo Santos has an impressive leg, but it’s difficult seeing the Chiefs going with a rookie kicker instead of the veteran Succop.
Examining the San Diego Chargers' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

Nothing has changed here. Sorensen still clearly the No. 3 quarterback at this point.

Running backs (4)

Kerwynn Williams and Branden Oliver have shown flashes, but I still think Grice is ahead at this point.

Receivers (5)

Inman has been the most consistent of the young receivers trying to make the back end of the roster. Seyi Ajirotutu is still in the mix, and rookies Tevin Reese, Javontee Herndon and Torrence Allen all have made plays.

Tight ends (4)

You could go with three tight ends here in order to pick up another receiver.

Offensive linemen (9)

With Jeromey Clary still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and not practicing, the Chargers need depth here.

Defensive linemen (6)

Tenny Palepoi and Damik Scafe and Chas Alecxih have made good impressions.

Linebackers (10)

Williams has been one of the more impressive young players in camp. It will be hard to keep Thomas Keiser off of the roster after how he played last season.

Cornerbacks (5)

At times, Marshall has been the best cornerback in camp. He's playing with a lot of confidence right now.

Safeties (4)

These four appear to be clearly ahead of rookies Alden Darby and Adrian Phillips.

Specialists (3)

Interested to see how rookie punter Chase Tenpenny performs in exhibition play if he gets an opportunity.
Examining the Denver Broncos' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

The Broncos carried three here last season and thought enough of Dysert to keep him despite a long list of injuries on defense that eventually saw five starters on injured reserve. It could be more difficult to use that third spot on Dysert again. The Broncos would like to, but it might be a luxury they can’t afford this time around, especially if they want a return specialist.

Running backs (4)
The Broncos kept five at this spot as recently as 2012, but this position shapes up to be a quality camp battle, and last year’s rookie to make it -- C.J. Anderson -- could certainly hold off this year’s crop. It would be a rarity to have two undrafted rookie running backs make the final 53, but Clay’s pass-catching ability is intriguing, and the 225-pound Thompson would give the Broncos a bigger back with an understanding of pass protections to go with some special-teams ability. Anderson has worked as the No. 3 for the most part in the first days of camp, but Clay has taken some snaps with the second team offense and Thompson has worked with the 3s as well.

Receivers (5)

The Broncos have two undrafted rookies at this spot who have turned some heads already -- Isaiah Burse as a returner and Bennie Fowler at wideout -- but Latimer will be the youngster on the depth chart barring an unexpected injury. Latimer and Caldwell give the Broncos some insurance against any potential concussion issues for Welker. Latimer figures to get plenty of quality snaps. The Broncos have kept five here for the past three seasons, although last year's five included returner Trindon Holliday.

Tight ends (3)

The Broncos kept four last season -- they kept three in 2011 and three in 2012 -- and Dreessen's knee troubles and his release just before camp opened means three is still the most likely number.

Offensive line (9)

The Broncos have kept nine players at this position for the opening week roster in all three previous seasons of the John Fox/John Elway regime, but with all of the shuffling in the search for swing players, they may feel the urge to add one here just in case. But the starting group up front looks to be Clady, Franklin, Ramirez, Vasquez and Clark. However, Montgomery could push hard at center and Justice got a long look at right tackle in offseason workouts and rookie Schofield should get a shot there as well. Perhaps Ryan Miller or Ben Garland could earn the extra (10th) spot.

Defensive line (9)

The Broncos kept 10 here in '11, kept nine in '12 and had eight on the opening night roster last season. They could trim to eight again if they have a glaring need elsewhere, but Vickerson and Smith are both coming back from stints on injured reserve.

Linebackers (7)

The workouts when the pads go on will mean plenty for this group, and there is room here for a wild card, including a late roster pickup, to make the depth chart. McCray likely would have made it as an undrafted rookie last season had he not been injured in the preseason. As it stands now, the final slot may be a battle between Brandon Marshall, who spent much of ’13 on the Broncos’ practice squad before being promoted to the active roster, and Chaney, who was a 16-game starter for the Eagles as recently as 2011.

Cornerbacks (5)

Last season, the Broncos kept seven cornerbacks on the opening night roster, including the injured Champ Bailey, but this time around Carter will enter camp squarely on the bubble, especially if one of the younger corners with some additional size, like rookie Louis Young, shows promise and some special-teams chops. But the top four spots are solidly in place, and the Broncos can sport the four-cornerback look they’d like to in the dime.

Safeties (5)

If Carter’s knee holds up in camp as it has through the team’s offseason workouts, he should be among the final group. Duke Ihenacho made the roster last season but will have a tougher road this time around. Bolden’s ability to be a swing player at corner and safety as well as having some potential as a returner gives him the edge as well.

Specialists (3)

The only question here is if a returner such as Burse or a player to be named later can show enough pop to lure the Broncos into keeping a return specialist.
Examining the Oakland Raiders' roster:

Schaub is the Raiders' franchise quarterback. Period.


In order to keep both McFadden and Jones-Drew healthy, expect the Raiders to dole out a healthy dose of Murray and CFL Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets in the exhibition season. Atkinson's best shot at making the roster remains as the kickoff returner.


Neither Reece, a two-time Pro Bowler, nor Olawale are the prototypical fullback, but both has skillsets that are fits for the Raiders offense.


Little has flashed enough in the early days of camp to supplant last year's draft pick, Brice Butler. At least for our purposes here.


The job is Ausberry's to lose, it would seem.


No changes here, though it's no secret the Raiders are hoping the rookie Jackson wins the left guard spot for a line that would average 6-foot-4, 326 pounds.


No changes here either, even if McGee and Wilson might be behind a tad dealing with injuries.


Dennis Allen likes this group. A lot. So much that veteran Kevin Burnett was expendable enough to cut.


An early, ahem, doomsday prediction that's not reflected here yet? Hayden to Injured Reserve, with Chimdi Chekwa taking his roster spot.


Usama Young being on the PUP list to start camp keeps him in the danger zone .


Dennis Allen believes Janikowski's "trust" issues with King as his holder are a thing of the past.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos have a loaded roster with a future Hall of Fame quarterback and a revamped defense talking like it believes it can be every bit as good as the team's historical offense.

The defense has star power and big plans. They also had one major, front-burner goal for this training camp.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesPeyton Manning played with his children, Marshall and Mosley, after the fourth day of training camp.
"No news, man," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. "No news, get to work and just start the season."

Plenty of folks come to the mountains to get away from it all but it isn't a stretch to say the Broncos, after last year's tumultuous offseason/summer of headline grabbers, are looking to produce a six-week snooze-fest.

And after their first week of camp they have succeeded. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is back on the field, New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner says he's the league's best at his position, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for two games and Johnny Manziel is the most chronicled backup quarterback since Tim Tebow.

The Broncos? They are conducting training camp as an invitation-only affair this year. Fans have had to take a rain check of sorts on the annual rite of summer on the Front Range as a massive construction project at the Broncos complex has forced the team to keep fans away for all but three practices inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

"It makes it easier when they're around, for sure," defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said. "So it's a little weird this year. But, man, we want to just get to work and get to the season. I think a lot of guys have thought that all offseason, get to work, grind it, keep our head downs, get through it and go play ball."

Last summer the Broncos had two front-office employees arrested on DUI offenses. The revelation of linebacker Von Miller's six-game suspension to open the regular season came down as camp got underway. Toss in some additional traffic violations to go with Miller's potential suspension appeal and last year's training camp was anything but quiet.

This year the snapshot of camp is not an intense position battle or a player wrestling an impending suspension from the league. Instead the 1,000-yard picture of camp's early going may be quarterback Peyton Manning's children -- twins Marshall and Mosely -- tackling Manning with smiles all around following Sunday's stadium practice.

What it all means is a discussion for another day perhaps, like say sometime in February. Last year the Broncos fought through the waves of events that followed them through the season, including coach John Fox's heart surgery eight games into the season, and ended up rewriting a section of the league's record book on the way to a Super Bowl appearance.

Granted the title game is an evening they'd rather forget for the most part and the Broncos have both noted, and publicly dismissed Seahawks' linebacker Bobby Wagner's claim they were "intimidated" and "timid" in Super Bowl XLVIII.

But in the end the Broncos have been boring thus far. Or just the way they wanted it until the games get played for real.
SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:
  • Ball magnet Eric Weddle showed why he’s one of the best safeties in the game, twice corralling interceptions during team drills and running them back for scores. The first pick came on an out route thrown by Philip Rivers intended for Keenan Allen in the red zone that Weddle stepped in front of for a turnover. And the second occurred later in practice on an errant throw down the middle of the field. Even though the team drills aren’t full-go, Weddle talked about why he ran both interceptions back to the end zone. “I’ve been in the end zone a few times in my career, so I like to feel that I can get in there if I get a pick,” Weddle said. “It’s just always if you get a pick let’s go run it in. They’ll sub you out. Just get that feeling of the guys blocking for you, and go score. Don’t settle for running out of bounds. Don’t settle for a 20-yard gain. Let’s try and go get points on the board.”
  • Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes were both a force up the middle rushing the passer during defensive drills, much like the duo performed last season. But a couple of undrafted rookie free agents also flashed during inside pass-rush drills -- Tenny Palepoi and Jeremiah Sirles. Both players showed the ability to push the pocket from the interior against second-and-third unit offensive linemen. Defensive linemen like Sean Lissemore, Lawrence Guy, Kwame Geathers, Damik Scafe and Ryan Carrethers rightly remain ahead of Sirles and Palepoi on the depth chart. But the play of that young duo shows the overall improvement of San Diego’s defensive line so far through the first four days of camp. Along with those interior pass-rushers, second-round selection Jeremiah Attaochu is being given a lesson in how to get to the pass-rusher off the edge of the defense by going against two of the more mammoth tackles in the NFL in King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker. And although he’s struggled at times against the bigger offensive linemen, Attochu’s motor keeps churning. “That’s as big as it gets,” Attaochu said. “So I’m just working my technique against that, and trying to get around those guys. They’re like mountains.”
  • Offensive lineman Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) remains on the active, physically unable to perform (PUP) list. His replacements, Johnnie Troutman and Chris Watt had to leave the field at the end of practice on Saturday due to dehydration but returned to practice on Sunday. Inside linebacker Andrew Gachkar (unknown) and center Nick Hardwick (rest) also returned to the field after missing practice. Receiver Vincent Brown (calf) remains out. Outside linebackers Jarrett Johnson and Dwight Freeney, along with tight end Antonio Gates took rest days. “They kind of did some things on the side, just the three of them, with strength and conditioning just to rest them,” San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy said about the veteran trio. “They’ve played plenty of football in their lives. So we’ll just keep them fresh.”
  • The Chargers installed red zone offense and defense for the majority of the team drills during Sunday’s practice, a point of emphasis after the team’s struggles on both sides of the ball last season. “Like every practice, there was plenty of give and take,” McCoy said. “The defense created some turnovers there. There were some big plays by the offense. We did a nice job at times of stopping the run, and then the last period the offense did a nice job of running the football.”
  • “He actually asked me as soon as we picked him on the first day, ‘Can I go back on punt returns?’ So we’ll see what happens down the road.” -- Chargers head coach Mike McCoy on first round selection Jason Verrett returning punts for the first time during training camp on Saturday.
  • The Chargers practice at 8:50 a.m. ET on Monday and will take Tuesday off. Monday’s practice is closed to the public.

Broncos Camp Report: Day 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
DENVER -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:
  • The Broncos took to their home stadium Sunday for a practice that was open to the public. There were 21,993 folks on hand at Sports Authority Field at Mile High for what would have the same kind of workout the team would have done at its facility. The players genuinely liked getting away from the relative peace and quiet, at least when it comes to crowd noise, and from the construction going on at the team’s complex. Because of that construction, no fans will be able to attend the Broncos’ practices there during this year's camp. “They do miss the fans on a daily base there at Dove Valley,’’ head coach John Fox said. “I know they appreciated it and enjoyed it.”
  • It was the second consecutive day the team practiced in full gear and Sunday’s practice was choppy at times because of it. But Fox’s practice plan gave fans plenty to look at as the team put a heavy emphasis on red-zone drills. Those on hand got to see a variety of plays featuring the first-team offense against the first-team defense inside the 10-yard line. Quarterback Peyton Manning was ruthlessly efficient, in 7-on-7 and full team drills in the red zone. Manning connected on scoring passes to Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker and Jacob Tamme in one 1-on-1 drill between receivers and defensive backs alone.
  • The Broncos have shown already they are going to continue to expand tight end Julius Thomas’ role in the offense. So much so, that even in the sunshine and rainbows environment that is the routinely the optimism that surrounds training camp, Thomas continues to show he’s in line to improve on the 65 catches and 12 touchdowns of last season. Sunday, Manning threaded a ball in between Kayvon Webster and T.J. Ward to hit Thomas for a score just minutes after Manning had put a ball up high in the back of the endzone for Thomas to snag for a score. On the play in the back of the endzone, Thomas reached over the Broncos best coverage linebacker, Danny Trevathan, for the touchdown. Trevathan was in good position, but the ball placement was right on and Thomas, a former basketball player at Portland State, knows how to work in traffic.
  • Given that running back is a crowded position with plenty of youth -- Ronnie Hillman, entering his third season, is the most experienced of the group -- those looking for a spot may want to take a page from Hillman’s work Sunday. The Broncos didn’t tackle live on special teams, but Hillman returned some kickoffs and showed good burst doing it. And with the kickoff return job wide open, some of the running backs looking for a roster spot may be wise to lobby for their chance to return kicks in the coming weeks.
  • Some of the Broncos players lost their footing at times early in practice, especially closer to the sidelines at the south end of the stadium. But several people with the team, including Fox, attributed it to how the field was prepared for the Manchester United-AS Roma soccer game at the stadium Saturday afternoon. “It wasn’t bad, they cut it a little shorter than we’re accustomed to, we had some slippage outside the numbers a little earlier.’’
  • Odds and ends: Broncos backup quarterback Brock Osweiler hit two long throws during the stadium practice, the first to a diving Greg Hardin in 7-on-7 drills early in practice and another to tight end Gerell Robinson in team drills later in the day. ... Hardin made another diving grab, on a throw from Zac Dysert later in practice. ... Webster may have had the biggest hit of the practice when he plowed into running back Montee Ball as Ball reached high for a swing pass from Manning. ... Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who has been excused since Wednesday night due to his grandmother's death, was slated to return to the team Sunday night and be on the practice field for Monday morning's workout.
DENVER -- The Denver Broncos went public Sunday as they held their first training camp practice of the season in front of their loyal followers.

They escaped a fully-padded workout of two hours without any significant injuries and the 21,993 fans on hand got their first up-close look at the changes the team made following the 35-point loss in Super Bowl XLVIII.

'It was exciting to out there in front of them,’’ said linebacker Von Miller. “ ... We all like to show what kind of team we have."

One of those highly-anticipated free-agent signees, defensive end DeMarcus Ware, was held out if the second half of the practice with what Broncos head coach John Fox called a lower leg bruise.

“It doesn’t appear to be serious, but we did hold him out,’’ said head coach John Fox.

Defensive tackle Marvin Austin looked to have suffered a right hand/thumb injury during the workout as well. Austin has his hand taped and did return to the practice, but it appeared to still be bothering him following practice.

Because of the $35 million construction project currently underway at their suburban Denver complex, which includes an indoor practice facility, the Broncos could not have fans at their training camp practices this year. So, Sunday’s practice at the stadium was the first time they had an open practice for fans to see.

They will also have their Wednesday practice inside the stadium and Saturday will hold their annual scrimmage at the stadium. Last summer 44,439 fans attended the team’s scrimmage.
NAPA, Calif. -- For too long, it seemed the Oakland Raiders would never get here. But here they are, finally, in Year 3 of the Great Reconstruction. And the architect of the project, general manager Reggie McKenzie, says they’re right on schedule.

“From the standpoint of who we have and going to training camp feeling good about being competitive and winning some games -- you ask yourself can you go into games knowing you’ve got a defense that can pressure the quarterback, cover receivers and stop the run?” he said. "On offense, you ask do you have guys who can protect, run the ball, throw the ball and catch the ball? The answers are, yes. Now, we’ve got a lot of new guys who have to adapt to each other, but I feel like we’re right where I thought we’d be.”

The first two years of the rebuild were painful, with back-to-back 4-12 seasons. McKenzie had to get a bloated salary cap under control, overcome the absence of draft picks in Year 1 and listen to the frustration of a fan base that hasn’t seen a winning season in Oakland since 2002.

The key to this season will be good health, he said. Some of the free agents being counted on the most arrived with a recent history of injuries that caused them to miss games or negatively impacted their performances on the field. Among them, defensive end LaMarr Woodley hasn’t played a full season since 2010; cornerback Carlos Rogers ended last season with a hamstring strain that limited his play; and running back Maurice Jones-Drew was sidelined for 10 games in 2012 with a bad foot and was slowed by an assortment of injuries last year.

McKenzie says he’s not concerned by the lack of a true No. 1 receiver.

“Do we have a Larry Fitzgerald, a Calvin Johnson, a top-five guy that everybody knows the ball is going to go to him? No,” he said. “We have a spread-it-around type receiving group, and it’s a group with a lot of good receivers. Do we have that bona fide guy? No one has established himself as that, but we have some guys who are stepping up. We have proven, good football players who we are going to go to.”

He’s also not anxious about his situation at cornerback, with 2013 first-round pick D.J. Hayden out indefinitely with a foot injury.

“That fact that it’s a foot, it’s a bone, the bone is going to heal,” McKenzie said. “When it does, he has to get comfortable planting and rolling the foot. How long is that going to take? How long is it going to take for him to, not get comfortable, but get to that level he was at before he hurt it? We don’t know. But I can say this: We have some competitive guys at that group. I feel better about that position than I did last year, even with the injury. We have some other guys who are competing.”

The addition of Rogers and Tarell Brown from San Francisco were major, and the team is high on draft picks T.J. Carrie, who has looked good in workouts and the first few days of camp, and Keith McGill. Plus, a defensive back’s best friend is a good pass rush, and the Raiders have upgraded in that area with the drafting of Khalil Mack and the free-agent signings of Justin Tuck and Woodley.

Whether the moves translate into better than 4-12 remains to be seen, but for now McKenzie believes the Raiders are right where they’re supposed to be.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Four days into training camp, there’s been no change of status for the Kansas City Chiefs' most accomplished cornerback. Sean Smith is still running with the second team behind starters Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker.

This isn’t what the Chiefs envisioned last year when they signed Smith as a free agent from the Miami Dolphins. It can’t be what they envisioned last month when they released Brandon Flowers, a cornerback even more accomplished than Smith.

There’s plenty of time for Smith to return to the starting lineup. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton held out some hope that it could happen soon.

“He’s not far away," Sutton said. “He’s obviously played a lot of football and played very well for us. We just thought coming out of the spring ... the other guys were a little in front so we went that way as we started camp.

“He’s in the hunt. He’s just got to keep working."

Credit to the Chiefs for benching Smith, despite his considerable salary cap number of $5.75 million, if they didn’t think he was deserving of a starting spot. But in a sense, the Chiefs, at least for the time being, have lost both of their starters from last year at a position where they weren’t deep to begin with.

Flowers was a holdout, which complicated his situation. In a way, he forced the Chiefs to release him by staying away from offseason workouts.

But the Chiefs can’t make these moves in a vacuum. It makes no sense for them to release Flowers if they’re also going to bench Smith.

The Chiefs can afford only so many setbacks at cornerback. They’ve already exceeded their limit. Cooper looked promising for a time last season as a rookie but also played so poorly as the third cornerback for a stretch that the Chiefs had to bench him. Parker is a journeyman.

Smith isn’t a perfect cornerback, but that type of player is few and far between anyway. The Chiefs’ best defensive lineup is with Smith in it, and the sooner they get back to it, the better they will be.
NAPA, Calif. -- When fleet quarterback Terrelle Pryor was traded to Seattle in the offseason, he didn’t take the read-option calls from the Oakland Raiders' playbook with him.

This year the Raiders are considering using running back Darren McFadden as the point man in the read option. McFadden filled the role at times at the University of Arkansas, and he ran some Wildcat early in his career with Oakland. The possibility of taking snaps directly from center excites him.

“I always tell people I really was supposed to be a quarterback, I just ended up being a running back,” McFadden said. “It’s always fun to me, being able to get back there behind center. It takes me back to my old roots. The first position I ever played was quarterback. It was my first love.”

Coordinator Greg Olson is intrigued by the idea of having McFadden and newcomer Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield together. The two are competing for the starting job in the base offense, but Olson believes having the pair on the field together could create matchup problems for defenses. The scheme is also a way to keep opponents off balance.

“With the influx of the college game, Terrelle Pryor was a good fit for the read-option scheme and we had some success with it,” he said. “Now we’re back to a more traditional-type passer (in newcomer Matt Schaub), so we’ll get back to a more traditional system. But there were some things that we really liked about the read-option scheme, and we’ll still be capable of doing some of them because of Darren’s background in college. The thought of having him and Maurice back there together is kind of intriguing to us. So we’ll look to keep some of those elements in the offense.”

Chiefs Camp Report: Day 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Kansas City Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University:

• Coach Andy Reid has said the Chiefs would take some practice snaps away from players who recently had surgery, and tight end Travis Kelce is among them. But taking some snaps away from Kelce is one thing and sitting him for an entire practice is another. Kelce spent his time working with other injured players away from the practice field. This looks to be an ominous sign for a player the Chiefs are counting on to provide a boost in their passing game. Kelce missed all of his rookie season last year with an ailing knee. The Chiefs took a hit at tight end when Sean McGrath, their leading pass receiver at the position last year, abruptly retired. The Chiefs could have survived his loss if Kelce, starter Anthony Fasano and young Demetrius Harris stayed healthy. But if Kelce doesn't get back on the practice field soon, the Chiefs' plans for getting more catches from their tight ends this season may have to be scrapped.

• Another position where depth will be tested is offensive tackle. Donald Stephenson, the starter on the right side, left practice with an ankle injury. Eric Fisher, the starting left tackle, is another one of those players coming off surgery who sits out some drills. When Fisher sat out, the Chiefs patched together an offensive line that featured Ryan Harris, signed on the eve of camp, at left tackle and journeyman J'Marcus Webb at right tackle. The Chiefs also have Jeff Linkenbach, who has played some tackle for the Indianapolis Colts, but he has worked mostly at guard.

• The Chiefs have several candidates to be their slot receiver, so the absence of Junior Hemingway with a sore hamstring is easy to forget. But Hemingway gives the Chiefs something they otherwise lack at the position: a big body. Hemingway, at 6-1 and 225 pounds, is bigger than most nickel backs, and for that reason, he can be a tough cover out of the slot. His first NFL catch last season was a touchdown on a route he ran from the slot. The Chiefs need Hemingway back sooner rather than later.

• Another receiver, Dwayne Bowe, left practice early with what the Chiefs said were cramps. Kyle Williamsand Frankie Hammond Jr. took advantage of their absence. Williams caught several catches, while Hammond had the play of the day. He caught a pass over the middle and then weaved his way through several defenders for the touchdown.

• A two-play sequence captured the essence of developmental quarterback Tyler Bray. On the first play, Bray threw one of those what-was-he-thinking passes that went straight to linebacker Dezman Moses, who made the interception. On the next, Bray threw a beautiful deep fade that wide receiver Darryl Surgent caught in the end zone.
Charles Woodson is being listed as a safety for the third consecutive season, but this is the first season in which he’ll actually play the position in a traditional sense.

When he made the transition to the back of the secondary in 2012 with the Green Bay Packers, he was a safety in name only. Green Bay still used him to cover receivers in the slot, on the perimeter and on underneath routes. He was a cornerback who just happened to line up at safety.

Even last year, when the Oakland Raiders tried to use him in a traditional single-safety-deep role, he continued to play the position as if he were a cornerback. He’d identify plays and routes before they happened, then react as if he were a cornerback. The results weren’t always positive.

But this season the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year has accepted that he’s now a true safety, which means he has to be more patient, adjust his angles and not attempt to jump a route as if he were the corner in coverage. He’s also enjoying learning a “new” position from first-year assistant secondary coach Marcus Robertson, who spent 12 years in the league as a safety, and was a two-time All-Pro.

“It’s a big difference having him around -- big difference,” Woodson said. “It’s not just that he played the position; he knows the position. He knows the position better than I could imagine. That’s what’s been great for me.”

In 2013, Woodson relied on his athleticism. So supremely confident in his physical abilities, he tried to make plays even when his role wouldn’t allow it. “I’m an athlete, so I figured that if they moved me to safety, I’m just going to play safety. And I did. I had 97 tackles and two sacks.”

But now he’s adding the mental to go with the physical, and he sees no ceiling. A defensive back’s best friend is a pass rush, and the Raiders upgraded theirs with the additions of Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley and Khalil Mack. They’ve also improved their talent at cornerback by signing experienced winners in Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown.

“I’m still adjusting to it,” Woodson said. “The biggest thing is that I’m still breaking (on passes) as if I’m a corner. I’m back there deep and anything the quarterback does, I’m breaking on it. Well, there’s no way I can get up there and make a play. So I’m learning patience. It’s actually fun because I’m learning.”

Raiders Camp Report: Day 2

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders training camp:
  • An estimated 1,000 fans attended the afternoon practice, which was ho-hum largely because the collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from wearing pads during the first two days of camp. That meant no real hitting to speak of. The focus was on the continued installation of their offense and defense. Bottom line: A lot of teaching, a lot of learning, very little meaningful action. Coach Dennis Allen acknowledged as much afterward, saying: “Tomorrow’s the first day we really play football.”
  • It was not a good afternoon for the receivers. Too many drops. Tight end David Ausberry had a couple, as did tight end Jake Murphy, who after a second one in a seven-on-seven drill stayed on the turf. His head appeared to hit the field, and after a few seconds, he walked with a wobble off the field. Wideout Andre Holmes, who came on strong at the end of last season, also dropped an easy pass. He muffed a couple of others Friday as well.
  • Not surprisingly, running back Darren McFadden wowed spectators with his speed, bursting into the clear on runs around the end and on flares and screens. That’s nothing new. He does it every camp when healthy. The sight of him leaving a vapor trail makes you shake your head in awe and frustration, because you can’t help but wonder what the oft-injured veteran could do if he stayed healthy for a season. Wideout Greg Little also continued to impress, snagging passes along the sideline in tight coverage.
  • Punter Marquette King might be the most muscular punter in the history of the NFL. On Saturday, he put on a powerful display, booming balls that had returners turning their backs to the line in hopes of fielding them. Still, the focus for King this offseason hasn’t been on distance; tt has been on direction. The Raiders want him to be able to place balls in specific spots to help vary their coverages and keep returners off balance. King says he’s still a week away from reaching his comfort level, but you never would have known it by his performance.
  • Linebacker Kaluka Maiava (hamstring) and Tarell Brown (ill) missed practice.

Broncos Camp Report: Day 3

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:
  • Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who is slated to return to practice Monday after spending the first four days of training camp in Georgia after the death of his grandmother, will be eased into drills upon his return. Or as offensive coordinator Adam Gase put it; “He has got a great grasp of our offense. There is no concern with me. Once he gets back, he will just jump right in. We will probably be smart with him, make sure that we don’t do anything crazy. He is not going to come out here and just run all go routes -- none of that on the first day. We will work him back in, we will be smart, make sure he gets caught up to speed with his conditioning, but then he will slide right in.’’
  • Another day, another reason the Broncos signed Aqib Talib. The Broncos practiced in full gear for the first time in this camp Saturday morning. As a result, they did plenty of work in the run game, including some one-on-one drills when the team’s wide receivers were asked to block the cornerbacks as if it were a running play. Talib was easily the toughest cornerback to block in the group as he repeatedly tossed aside the receiver who had tried to block him. The Broncos believe safety T.J. Ward and Talib will significantly improve the Broncos’ ability to pressure the line of scrimmage in run defense behind the team’s front seven.
  • In the usual ebb and flow of training camp, the defense tipped the scales its way much of the time Saturday. That figures to change a bit as the offense continues to dial in over the coming days and weeks. But as the offense went through some of its offerings in the run game, but Broncos' defensive front was stout and aggressive, particularly in the middle of the field. Ward also was easy to find, arriving first on many run plays outside the tackles. “I like what I’ve seen in the meetings. I like the way he conducts himself,’’ defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. “He’s going to bring some toughness to our defense, and we’ve got some tough guys on our defense so he’ll fit right in with that. A welcomed addition.’’
  • During Elvis Dumervil’s time with the Broncos, he routinely credited his work against Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady on a day-to-day basis as a big reason Dumervil became a Pro Bowl player. And while those battles were always of high quality, Saturday gave a quality glimpse into one that could be even better as Clady and DeMarcus Ware went at it both in one-on-ones and when the Broncos' starting offense went against the starting defense. Ware, who said he has dropped some weight this season, was consistently quick off the ball and repeatedly tested Clady’s ability to get into his pass sets. The work will certainly benefit both players.
  • Chris Clark, who is getting the first look at right tackle with the starters, had some tough moments in the one-on-ones as well as on some two-on-twos, when the Broncos offensive linemen were working on their footwork against a variety of stunts. Guard Louis Vasquez spent some time off to the side with Clark, going over hand placement to maximize the first contact on the opposing rusher.
  • Odds and ends: Ward forced a fumble on wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in the morning practice … Ben Garland, who has spent two years on the Broncos’ practice squad as both an offensive and defensive lineman after completing his service commitment in the U.S. Air Force, has been at the left guard spot with the second-team offense. … Paul Cornick, who was on the Broncos’ practice squad last year, has worked as the No. 2 right tackle, behind Clark in the early going … Quote of the day fromlinebacker Danny Trevathan on Ward and Ware: “Those guys are savages.’’ ... The Broncos moved their second practice of the day indoors because of lightning in the area. They held a walk-through on an undersized field adjacent to the team's weight room.