AFC West: 2014 NFL Training Camp Report

Raiders' Camp Report: Day 16

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
10:15
PM ET
ALAMEDA, Calif . – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders' training camp.
  • Yes, the Raiders already technicaly broke camp in Napa last week before traveling to Southern California for a pair of joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys and Friday’s home exhibition opener against the Detroit Lions. But Sunday was treated as the final camp practice of the preseason at the Raiders' compound, with it open to reporters throughout. Starting Monday, practice is open to the media for only the first 30 minutes.
  • Rookie quarterback Derek Carr did not practice after being diagnosed with a concussion following a blow to his ribs against the Lions. Third-stringer Matt McGloin took Carr’s spot at No. 2 while Trent Edwards had the most snaps he has had all camp.
  • Matt Schaub had a few nice passes and was also picked off by strong safety Tyvon Branch , who was practicing after suffering an ankle injury Friday. “There are still some things that we’re trying to work on in the passing game,” said coach Dennis Allen. “There were some really good plays and then there some plays that weren’t quite as good. So, we’re going to continue to work and we’re going to continue to get better. Matt Schaub is our starting quarterback. I think he’s doing a good job for us and I think he will do a good job for us.”
  • Safety Usama Young (quad) was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform list and practiced for the first time while cornerback Neiko Thorpe (unknown) practiced for the first time since early in camp.
  • In the wake of second-year tight end Nick Kasa suffering a potential season-ending knee injury last week in Oxnard, and with presumptive starter David Ausberry still recovering from a procedure on his left knee 10 days earlier, the Raiders signed tight end Kyle Auffray on Sunday. The 6-feet-5, 254-pound Auffray, who was originally signed by Arizona as an undrafted free agent out of New Hampshire in 2013, has also been with New England and Cleveland, though has yet to play in an NFL game. He began his college career as a quarterback at Mississippi State before transferring to New Hampshire and playing tight end and punter. In the corresponding roster move, the Raiders waived kicker Kevin Goessling and have yet to make a roster move with Kasa.
  • Cornerbacks Chimdi Chekwa (knee) and Taiwan Jones (banged up) sat out practice, as did receiver Juron Criner (hip). Defensive tackle Justin Ellis (concussion), guard Lamar Mady (ankle) and Ausberry (knee) were also out. Cornerback DJ Hayden (foot) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) remain on the PUP list. Fullback Marcel Reece came out of practice with a sore foot.
  • Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie got into the ALS ice-bucket fray by accepting Denver Broncos president John Elway’s challenge.
  • The Raiders practice Monday at 11:50 a.m. PT.

Chargers Camp Report: Day 18

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
12:20
AM ET
SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:
  • Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said that training camp officially came to a close Saturday, with veteran players moving out of a nearby hotel and back to their homes after an early-morning arrival from Seattle. The rookies will remain in the hotel until roster cuts. McCoy said his team's preparation for the third preseason game at San Francisco will be much more like a regular-season game, including game-planning specifically for the San Francisco 49ers. "It's an introduction for the team on how it's going to be on a normal week during the season," McCoy said. "So that's really the biggest change. But we still have two weeks of the preseason to go."
  • McCoy said that linebacker Manti Te'o has a sprained right foot and will not play against San Francisco. Defensive end Sean Lissemore (ankle) and safety Jahleel Addae (hamstring) also suffered injuries against the Seahawks and will not play next week against the 49ers.
  • McCoy said that cornerback Brandon Flowers played OK in his first snaps with his new team. Now, Flowers needs to continue to get more reps in order to get into game shape for the regular season. "For the plays that he was in there, he did a nice job," McCoy said. "It's a matter of getting the communication down with everybody, playing faster and making the adjustments on the run that you need to make."
  • Rookie offensive lineman Chris Watt also played for the first time, getting in on about 45 snaps, according to McCoy. The Notre Dame product played both right guard and center, and appeared to get through the contest without an injury. "He did a nice job," McCoy said. "But he's got a long ways to go in terms of learning the system and playing center. It's something new for him, as much as he's been playing it with us. But he did a nice job."
  • McCoy said that outside linebacker Tourek Williams had an uneven performance against the Seattle Seahawks. The second-year pro finished with five combined tackles -- including a tackle for loss -- and a sack. But Williams also was caught out of position at times. "There's plays where you look at him and say, 'Wow, that's how you want Tourek to play every down,'" McCoy said. "And then there's times where there's some little technical mistakes, whether it's an alignment or technique that [linebackers coach] Joe Barry's been teaching him to use for certain run plays, or dropping out in coverage or rushing the passer -- some little things. But he's done a nice job. He's growing."
  • Up next: The Chargers will take Sunday off and return to practice Monday at Chargers Park. The practice is closed to the public.

Broncos Camp Report: Day 23

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
8:05
PM ET
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:

  • The Broncos "broke" camp after their walk-through late Friday afternoon, though things will look largely the same for players Tuesday when they return to the practice field. Because of construction at their complex, including that of a new indoor practice facility, fans have not been able to attend training camp practices that have routinely been open to the public in previous years. As a result Friday's two practices had much the same setting as Tuesday's will. That's when the Broncos begin three days of work against the Houston Texans. As of Friday, however, the Broncos' veterans no longer have to stay at the nearby hotel and can commute from home the rest of the way. "Camp's over, but we're still in camp mode because we're not in the regular season yet," safety T.J. Ward said. "We get to get out of the hotel and it's not as long of a day, but we're still preparing in that mindset. I'm just glad I get to go home and sleep in my own bed."
  • Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was held out of Friday's morning practice with a thigh injury that has limited him over the last two weeks. Sanders had practiced Tuesday and Thursday but was also held out of Monday's practice. He did participate in the evening walk-through, which forced the Broncos to adjust things with the starting offense earlier in the day as they went through red-zone work and end-of-game scenarios. The biggest beneficiary was Jordan Norwood, who got a selection of snaps with the regulars, including back-to-back receptions from Peyton Manning in a two-minute drill. Norwood, who is also getting a long look as the team's punt returner, would solidify his ability to gain a roster spot if he can consistently show he can give the team something at receiver. The fifth-year player has just four career starts -- all in 2011 with the Cleveland Browns.
  • Rookie running back Juwan Thompson got additional work with the starting offense and also continues to show he's up to the mental challenge. "You just want to be prepared at any given time when Peyton throws anything at you. At the end of the day, I can just ask him, so that I can feel 100 percent guaranteed about what I'm doing out there." Thompson figures to get plenty of work Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers since Montee Ball won't play (appendectomy) and C.J. Anderson just returned to practice Thursday after suffering a concussion. The Broncos believe Ball will return to practice on at least a limited basis next week, possibly as early as Tuesday's practice.
  • Von Miller's mother, Gloria, has been a regular visitor to training camp practices. After Friday's morning workout, Von took defensive end DeMarcus Ware over the meet her. "That's the first time she's met DeMarcus," Miller said. "DeMarcus is her second favorite player in the league, and she wanted to meet him ... She's a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, too." As Miller does more and more in practices in his return from ACL surgery, he and Ware have shown more of their potential in the pass rush. Friday, with Manning under center on one play, Miller launched himself around right tackle Chris Clark and got to Manning before Manning had even finished his dropback.
  • Odd and ends: Aqib Talib intercepted Manning in the end zone in a red-zone drill, a pass intended for Andre Caldwell ... Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler had a difficult sequence in end-of-game work against the second-team defense with what would have been a sack/fumble if defenders were allowed to hit the quarterbacks, to go with an interception by rookie linebacker Lamin Barrow on the next snap.

 

Broncos Camp Report: Day 22

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
7:35
PM ET
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:
  • C.J. Anderson, who had suffered a concussion in the preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, was back on the practice field Thursday morning, a week after leaving the Broncos' 21-16 victory. The Broncos will steadily work him back in, but Anderson did take a smattering of snaps with the starting offense while sporting a new type of helmet, similar to what Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker wears. With Montee Ball still working back from an appendectomy, Ronnie Hillman took most of the work with the starters. Anderson and rookie Juwan Thompson also got snaps as well. Asked how he felt Thursday, Anderson said he was sluggish. "I mean, I've been off as far as conditioning. Headache and all that, all that's done. I've got a new helmet. It's brand new, so I'm trying to break it in. Kind of tight at times, but I feel fine and you don't miss a beat."
  • The Broncos haven't been able to allow fans to watch their training camp practices this year because of construction in and around their complex, but folks would have enjoyed a highly entertaining set of 1-on-1s Thursday between the wide receivers/tight ends and the defensive backs in the red zone. Quarterback Peyton Manning was at his best, consistently throwing the ball into the tightest of windows with the defensive backs doing quality work of their own to try to prevent it. In one quality battle after another, Manning dropped scoring passes worthy of GPS, especially those into back corners of the end zone, to Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Andre Caldwell. Cornerback Aqib Talib and rookie Bradley Roby had interceptions in the drill and Chris Harris Jr. knocked away a pass.
  • As expected, Brandon Marshall lined up at Danny Trevathan's weak-side linebacker spot in the base defense. Marshall, who spent most of the 2013 season on the team's practice squad before being signed to the active roster last December, showed he was prepared. He practiced with decisiveness in his movements in both the base defense as well as the specialty packages. "He is athletic," defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. "I am excited to get a chance to really evaluate him in a more prominent role." Trevathan is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a fracture at the top of his left tibia.
  • Rookie wide receiver Cody Latimer showed his ability to snare passes in traffic -- one of the things the Broncos' evaluators liked best about him before the team selected him in the second round of the draft -- when he leaped between cornerback Tony Carter and safety Duke Ihenacho up the left sideline to reel in a pass from Brock Osweiler. With Demaryius and Julius Thomas as well, the Broncos will have plenty of potential size to put in red-zone formations with the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Latimer as well.
  • With the second preseason game looming Sunday, the Broncos are still not consistently fielding punts as well as they're going to need to once the regular season begins. Wide receiver Jordan Norwood has looked the most consistent so far. Isaiah Burse bobbled a punt in a special teams period. The Broncos have been spotty at times in kickoff return work as well so far in camp. Both return jobs are open and could be an avenue for a player to make an established roster where there may not be room for him at a position alone.
  • Odds and ends: Rookie tackle Michael Schofield has worked at right tackle with the second-team offense of late ... Safety John Boyett, who is trying to carve out a spot in a crowded secondary, had two interceptions in Thursday's practice -- one on backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, the other on No. 3 quarterback Zac Dysert in a 7-on-7 drill.

Chargers Camp Report: Day 17

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
3:45
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:

After an hour-long practice, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy was noncommittal on what players will take the field on Friday against the Seahawks, or how much the starters will play. Specifically, McCoy would not divulge if cornerbacks Brandon Flowers or Jason Verrett would be on the field for the first time this preseason. “We’ve got a plan,” McCoy said. “We’re going to talk about it as a staff tonight and tomorrow about exactly how we’re playing players, and how much players are going to play. Some guys we’re going to hold out. So, we’ll go from there.” Flowers fully participated in practice this week after missing the team’s exhibition opener against the Cowboys with a leg injury. He appears on target to play. Verrett still is wearing a red jersey during practice as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery in March to repair a torn labrum. Flowers said he’s healthy, but the decision of whether or not he takes the field against Seattle will be up to the coaching staff.

• Defensive lineman Corey Liuget returned to the field after missing practice the past two days with an ankle injury. Liuget’s availability for Friday’s game is uncertain. Fellow defensive linemen Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and Damik Scafe (unknown) did not practice, along with receiver Vincent Brown (calf) and edge rusher Dwight Freeney (rest). Those four likely will not play against Seattle. Offensive lineman Jeromey Clary still is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

• McCoy talked about the importance of Verrett getting some reps in a preseason game before playing in the team’s regular-season opener at Arizona on Sept. 8. Verrett continues to wear a red jersey in practice, which limits how much contact he can participate in as his surgically repaired shoulder heals. At some point McCoy has to let Verrett see what he can do in a live game, but that likely won’t happen this week in Seattle. “You’d love to see him play in a full-speed environment to where he has to make the adjustment on the run,” McCoy said. However, McCoy said he doesn’t know how many live reps it will take to get Verrett up to speed for the regular season. “I can’t put a number on that honestly,” McCoy said. “He’s getting a ton of reps out here in practice. But there’s nothing like real reps in a game.”

• Up next: The Chargers travel to Seattle on Thursday and face the Seahawks on Friday, 10 p.m. ET at CenturyLink Field.

Chiefs Camp Report: Day 22

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
12:10
PM ET
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Kansas City Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University:
  • The Chiefs began the process of gearing down in preparation for Sunday night’s preseason game against the Panthers in Charlotte. Their practice ended more than an hour earlier than usual and it was conducted mostly at something far less than full speed. The best action came on back-to-back plays during a competitive period. First, wide receiver Donnie Avery beat Marcus Cooper deep down the right sideline and made a nice over-the-shoulder catch of an Alex Smith pass. Smith and Avery came back at Cooper on the next play with a deep post pattern, but Cooper broke this one up.
  • Eric Berry again didn’t practice because of tendinitis in his heel and he won’t play against the Panthers. Berry also missed last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. “We’re just going to let it calm down here,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “He’s been battling this thing so we’ll let it get settled down before we bring him back. I think he’ll be fine. I don’t think it will be a problem.’’ Others who won’t play at Carolina include defensive linemen Mike DeVito and Mike Catapano.
  • Reid revealed a finger injury to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe that could explain why Bowe has dropped so many passes. “His finger is shot,’’ Reid said. “It’s been thrown out of place about 15 times and he’s not catching the ball. But he’s getting his work done. You can practice with that type of thing.’’
  • The Chiefs are in the final season of their five-year contract to hold training camp in St. Joseph. The Chiefs hold an option to have camp at Missouri Western State again next year. An alternative is to hold camp at their practice facility in Kansas City. It’s clear Reid likes the Chiefs to go away for camp and practice daily in front of fans. If the wishes of the football operation hold sway with the decision, it would be an upset for the Chiefs to train at home next year. “We enjoy it here. We do. From our side, it’s a nice setup," Reid said.
  • The Chiefs are finished with the St. Joseph portion of camp. They will resume practice next week in Kansas City and those sessions will be closed to the public.

Chargers Camp Report: Day 16

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
9:40
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:
  • For a second straight week, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy held out several veterans in order to rest them before Friday’s game at Seattle. Quarterback Philip Rivers, safety Eric Weddle, center Nick Hardwick, running back Danny Woodhead, linebacker Donald Butler, receiver Keenan Allen, edge rusher Dwight Freeney, cornerback Richard Marshall and left tackle King Dunlap were among the veteran players who did not practice for San Diego on Wednesday. “We rested a bunch of guys today just like we have done it all camp long,” McCoy said. “We pick and choose the guys at the right time to rest them, and to kind of reward them for the good work. Those guys deserve the breaks.”
  • Defensive lineman Corey Liuget did not practice for a second straight day due to an ankle injury. However, Liuget did not wear a walking boot on his right foot, and moved okay working with a trainer on agility drills during practice. Fellow defensive linemen Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and Damik Scafe (unknown) also did not practice. Receiver Vincent Brown (calf) remains out, and offensive lineman Jeromey Clary still is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
  • The defense made a couple impressive plays during team drills. Cornerback Shareece Wright stepped in front of Seyi Ajirotutu as he slipped making a cut on an in route to grab an interception thrown by Kellen Clemens. Crezdon Butler also intercepted a Clemens’ offering on an out-and-up route intended for Malcom Floyd. Ajirotutu made a nice, one-handed catch over the middle toward the end of team drills.
  • The Chargers played crowd noise over the speakers at practice in anticipation for the team’s game on Friday at CenturyLink Field. Considered one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, San Diego receivers coach Fred Graves said the environment should be a good test for some of the team’s younger players. “I’d say probably three-fourths of our guys have probably never been in this kind of environment,” Graves said. “So it will get them ready and get them prepared for down the road in those playoff games and things like that. I think our guys are ready for it.”
  • Chargers general manager Tom Telesco accepted Denver Broncos general manager John Elway’s “ice bucket challenge,” receiving a cold bucket of ice water poured over his head by Weddle after practice on Wednesday in in the name of ALS awareness and fundraising.
  • Up next: The Chargers will have a short morning practice on Thursday at Chargers Park before traveling to Seattle later that day. The practice is closed to the public.

Raiders Camp Report: Day 15

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
5:05
PM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders training camp:
  • The temperature was warmer and the tensions just as high for the second of two joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys here at the Cowboys’ training camp home. Again, Raiders fans outnumbered Cowboys fans and there was an increased police presence on the Raiders fan side of the complex after Tuesday’s incident in which a fan swung a replica Raiders helmet at Cowboys cornerback B.W. Webb during a brawl. Three more skirmishes erupted Wednesday, though none involved fans. The atmosphere, Raiders coach Dennis Allen acknowledged, increased his team’s sense of urgency. “We got better the past few days.”
  • The first fight was between Raiders safety Larry Asante and Cowboys receiver Devin Street, with Oakland linebacker Kaluka Maiava playing a guest-starring role. (Maiava was all over the field making plays Wednesday.) Fight No. 2 was between Raiders center Jarrod Shaw and Cowboys safety Johnny Thomas while the third scuffle happened when Darren McFadden was taken down by Cowboys linebacker Cameron Lawrence. In two days of practices, five brawls big enough to stop practice occurred. And, yes, Allen said there have been preliminary discussions about the Cowboys coming to Napa next summer.
  • I mostly stayed on the side of the field where the Raiders' defense practiced against the Cowboys' offense (I watched the Raiders' offense on Tuesday). Impression No. 1: the Raiders' cornerbacks are going to have trouble with the bigger elite receivers in the league. They had no answer for Dez Bryant, who took turns beating Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Chance Casey. Still, the defense did have two interceptions, both on tipped passes. The first when Jonathan Dowling got a hand on a Tony Romo pass that Nick Roach picked off, and the second on a Ryan Robinson tip of a Brandon Weeden throw that Jeremy Deering intercepted.
  • Other highlights: Jack Crawford breaking through to block a Cowboys punt in the end zone; TJ Carrie breaking up a long bomb in the end zone on a pass from Romo to Terrance Williams; Kory Sheets showing open-field shiftiness in breaking off a true to-the-house untouched TD run from midfield; Denarius Moore closing out the practice with a pretty leaping catch in the back of the end zone from Matt Schaub to beat Ryan Smith. (To be fair, the Cowboys' offense also scored on the other field a few minutes earlier.)
  • Quote of the two days in Oxnard: “Hey, we kicked ass down here.” – Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson.
  • On a somber note, Allen said “preliminary” results showed second-year tight end Nick Kasa suffered an ACL injury in his left knee on Tuesday. In a one-one-one drill with Cowboys safety Ryan Smith, Kasa went down in a heap after trying to plant and cut. If it is indeed a torn ACL, that “probably means he’s done for the year,” Allen said. Which means the Raiders are officially in the market for another tight end, with no timetable set for presumptive starting tight end David Ausberry’s return from last week’s procedure on his left knee.
  • Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (sore knee) started practice but did not finish. Meanwhile, the same injured players sat out: defensive tackle Justin Ellis (concussion), guard Lamar Mady (ankle), cornerback Neiko Thorpe (unknown) and Ausberry. Cornerback DJ Hayden (foot), safety Usama Young (quad) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) remain on the PUP list.
  • The Raiders are off Thursday and play their home exhibition opener Friday at 7 p.m. PT against the Detroit Lions.

Chiefs Camp Report: Day 21

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
1:10
PM ET
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Kansas City Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University:
  • The highlights of practice were the two-minute drills. The offense failed to score a touchdown on drives led by quarterbacks Alex Smith, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray. Smith, leading the starting offense against the first-team defense, completed three passes to Junior Hemingway to get the Chiefs past midfield. But from there the drive stalled and it ended on Smith’s incomplete Hail Mary into the end zone. Albert Wilson dropped a fourth-down pass that ended Daniel’s drive. Bray took his group to the 3-yard line with one second left. From there, his pass for Weston Dressler in the end zone was incomplete but the coaches evidently saw a penalty and gave Bray one more play. It didn’t turn out any better. His throw for Demetrius Harris in the end zone was way off target.
  • The Chiefs seemed to be making a concerted effort to get the ball to Hemingway, who also caught a touchdown pass in a later drill. He missed much of the early portion of camp with a sore hamstring and didn’t play in last week’s preseason opener against Cincinnati. So he needs the work as their slot receiver, and the Chiefs gave it to him. Look for plenty of Hemingway in Sunday’s night’s game against the Panthers in Charlotte.
  • Safety Eric Berry's irritated heel was again acting up and he missed practice for the second straight day. But kicker Ryan Succop returned to practice and he received plenty of work. Succop did all the kicking and made several field goals from beyond 40 yards. Judging from how he did in practice, Succop should be ready to kick against the Panthers.
  • Dwayne Bowe had a tough day. He made a juggling catch to begin a full team drill, but later dropped a pair of passes and then deflected Smith’s high throw to safety Daniel Sorensen, who made the interception.
  • The Chiefs will hold their final practice at 8:15 a.m. Central time on Thursday in St. Joseph. They will resume training camp at their practice facility in Kansas City next week. Those sessions will be closed to the public.

Raiders Camp Report: Day 14

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
11:15
PM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders training camp:
  • The tension was palpable as the Raiders played the role of unruly, but thankful guest for the first of two joint practices at the Dallas Cowboys’ facility. Raiders fans were on one side of the two-field complex; Cowboys fans on the other. And yes, Raiders fans outnumbered Cowboys fans. Per the Cowboys, attendance was 8,326. “What a hell of an atmosphere to practice football in,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “That’s what Raider Nation is really all about, man. That was awesome to see those (fans) come out and support us like that. It almost felt like, at times, that I had to quiet the crowd down just so we could get some plays off. It was a great atmosphere.” Raiders owner Mark Davis agreed. “The Raider Nation is big,” Davis said. “I didn’t expect it. I’m kind of surprised it was 3-to-1 Raider fans to Cowboy fans ... good stuff. Good for the team.”
  • A pair of brawls erupted, the first after Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne took a late shot at Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera and fullback Marcel Reece came to the rescue. Both the Raiders’ offense and the Cowboys’ defense jumped into the fray, in which a camera captured a fan swinging a Raiders helmet at a Cowboys player. Later, on the other field, a scrum between Raiders linebacker Justin Cole and Cowboys backup fullback J.C. Copeland erupted, with Copeland losing his helmet in the fracas. Before that, there was a mini-skirmish between Raiders right guard Austin Howard and Cowboys defensive tackle Davon Coleman. “I’m proud of every one of my guys,” Reece said. “It’s not about fighting; it’s about us having each other’s backs, taking care of each other, playing the game the right way.”
  • The Raiders suffered a pretty big loss early in practice when second-year tight end Nick Kasa went down in a heap in a one-on-one drill against safety Ryan Smith. Kasa immediately grabbed his left knee and screamed in pain. Allen did not have an update, simply saying, “It didn’t look good.”
  • I stayed on the side of the field where the Raiders offense practiced against the Cowboys defense all day (I’ll watch the Raiders defense on Wednesday), so the prettiest play of the day came when Kory Sheets treated Oxnard like some CFL wasteland and broke off a long run to the house off right tackle. The most almost-there play? Greg Little blowing through the Dallas secondary and not having anyone with 10 yards of him ... before strong-armed Derek Carr overthrew him.
  • Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa sat out the proceedings with a sore knee, but Allen said he hoped Chekwa would suit up on Wednesday. Defensive tackle Justin Ellis (concussion), guard Lamar Mady (ankle), cornerback Neiko Thorpe (unknown) and tight end David Ausberry (knee) sat out practice with cornerback DJ Hayden (foot), safety Usama Young (quad) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) still on the PUP list. Ausberry had his left knee wrapped, rather than wearing a cumbersome brace. So that’s a good sign, no.
  • The Raiders’ second of two joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard starts Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT.

Broncos Camp Report: Day 20

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
9:35
PM ET
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:
  • When the Broncos starting offense opened team drills in Tuesday’s first practice, it was undrafted rookie Juwan Thompson at running back as the group went though some situational work. It was a product of two running backs currently being sidelined, as Montee Ball recovers from an appendectomy and C.J. Anderson from a concussion, but also a sign of Thompson’s progress since training camp opened. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said Tuesday he was familiar with the Duke running back’s work long before Thompson was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted rookie in May. Manning and the Broncos' pass catchers have spent parts of the last two offseasons working at Duke. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is also a trusted Manning confidante and his former offensive coordinator at Tennessee. Thompson has earned raves from the Broncos for his ability to adjust on the fly and get the play right when Manning or backup Brock Osweiler make changes before the snap. Ronnie Hillman is still working at Ball’s primary backup, but Thompson, who is also the biggest back on the roster, is making a serious case to be among the final 53.
  • Tight end Jacob Tamme was back at practice Tuesday. He was excused for Monday’s practice as well as the team’s second practice this past Saturday night, as his wife just gave birth to the couple’s second child last week. Tamme, who has consistently made impact plays thus far in camp, created space to get the ball time and time again Tuesday, including a long completion from Osweiler toward the end of the workout. He will get plenty of snaps in some of the team’s two-tight end looks when the Broncos pair him with Julius Thomas. But Tamme's play has been top tier, starting with his one-handed touchdown reception in the team's first stadium scrimmage.
  • One overriding theme in this training camp as compared to last year's is the ability of the team’s defense to make life more difficult for the offense in team drills. In one team period Tuesday, had defensive players been allowed to hit the quarterback, DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller would have each had sacks when it was starters against starters. Ware beat left tackle Ryan Clady to the corner one play, and Miller then beat right tackle Chris Clark later in the same drill.
  • The Broncos will have combined practices with the Houston Texans next week as both team prepare for an Aug. 23 preseason game in Sports Authority Field at Mile High. However, it won’t be full-go in practice with the regular season being two weeks away. Broncos head coach John Fox said the two teams will practice at “thud" tempo, which means defenders and offensive players will make impact on plays but will not tackle to the ground.
  • In addition to Ball and Anderson, defensive end Chase Vaughn (right knee) and defensive end Greg Latta (right hip) were again held out of practice. Ball and Anderson did take part in the team’s walk-through Tuesday evening. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who had been held out of three straight practices because of a thigh injury -- though he did play 20 snaps in the preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night -- returned to practice. When the Broncos starters lined up in a two-tight end set with two wide receivers in the formation, it was most often Sanders and Demaryius Thomas at wideout.
  • Odds and ends: Wide receiver Jordan Norwood, who caught a touchdown pass from Osweiler in the preseason opener and continues to push for a roster spot, got some work with Manning and some other starters in a 7-on-7 period Tuesday ... An end-of-game, end-of-half practice period featured a couple penalties, with defensive tackle Marvin Austin jumping offside on a third-down play that gave the offense a first down. The offense later had a false start penalty in the same period.

Chargers Camp Report: Day 15

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
4:35
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:
  • A day after participating fully in practice, defensive end Corey Liuget was back in a walking boot on his right foot to protect a nagging ankle injury on Tuesday. Liuget has been dealing with this issue since tweaking the injury during one-on-one pass-rush drills two weeks ago. He’s tried to play through the pain during practice, but ultimately the Chargers are being proactive in getting the team’s best defensive lineman some rest so that Liuget’s injury does not linger throughout August and into the regular season. “It’s just a cautionary deal to make sure we get it corrected early,” said Liuget, when asked about sitting out of Tuesday’s practice.
  • Safety Eric Weddle made a nice spin move during one-on-one pass-rush drills that left running back Ryan Mathews reaching for air. Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney did the same thing a few plays later going against Ladarius Green.
  • After an impressive performance against Dallas, undrafted rookie free-agent running back Branden Oliver’s best chance to make the final roster likely will be as a returner. It appears that Oliver will get that opportunity, as he worked as a kick returner and punt returner during the special teams drills for San Diego.
  • Antonio Gates had one of his best practices this training camp, scoring two touchdowns during the red zone period and making one of his trademark acrobatic catches over the middle of the field with safety Darrell Stuckey in coverage. The 34-year-old tight end appears to be in great shape and has been moving well during camp.
  • Along with Liuget, receiver Vincent Brown (calf) and defensive end Lawrence Guy did not practice on Tuesday. Guard Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Cornerback Jason Verrett still is wearing a red jersey, as the Chargers continue to protect his surgically repaired shoulder.
  • Up next: After their final training camp practice open to the public on Tuesday, the Chargers will practice on Wednesday at Chargers Park at a time to be determined by the team. The practice will be closed to the public.

Chiefs Camp Report: Day 20

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
1:05
PM ET
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A daily look at the hot topics coming out of Kansas City Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University:
  • Safety Eric Berry arrived for practice in helmet and full pads, apparently ready for another day at the office. But Berry left the field early in the workout and didn’t return until his teammates were almost finished -- this time without helmet and pads. Coach Andy Reid said Berry has tendinitis in his injured heel. “He works a few days and then it bothers him and it inflames a little bit," Reid said. “Then we back off." Berry didn’t play in last week’s preseason opener against Cincinnati, and this routine calls into question his ability to withstand the rigors of a full season.
  • Reid indicated the starting offense, including quarterback Alex Smith, would probably play the entire first half in Sunday night’s game against Carolina in Charlotte. If the Cincinnati game is an indication, the starting offense needs the work. The Chiefs twice failed to convert on third down and short, and Smith lost a fumble against the Bengals.
  • Dropped passes haven’t been a particular problem in camp, but they were in a full-team drill toward the end of practice. Dwayne Bowe and Albert Wilson each dropped a pass, and later A.J. Jenkins deflected a pass that was intercepted by safety Husain Abdullah. Bowe and the other starting wide receiver, Donnie Avery, have dropped their share of passes over the years, so drops could be a problem for the Chiefs this season.
  • The Chiefs have to be relieved about left tackle Eric Fisher. He was held out of certain drills early in camp in order to protect the shoulder he had surgically repaired in the offseason. But then Fisher played every snap with the starting offense against the Bengals and hasn’t been held out of a drill in the four days since. Fisher’s ability to withstand the season is a big issue for the Chiefs. They have no obvious candidate as their third tackle, so an extended absence by Fisher or right tackle Donald Stephenson would be a problem.
  • The Chiefs’ next practice is Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. CT.

Chargers Camp Report: Day 14

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
9:10
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:
  • Chargers head coach Mike McCoy had a surprise for his players at the end of practice. Skydivers from Frog X Shadow Works skydiving group -- a team of former U.S. Naval Special Warfare and Special Forces members -- landed on the team's practice field at Chargers Park. The Chargers arranged the event as a nice gesture for the players, who hosted their family night on Tuesday, with family and friends on hand for a BBQ after practice. "It's a great opportunity for us to kind of say 'Thank You' to all of the families that support us coaches and players all year long," McCoy said.
  • A limited participant in practice on Saturday, Brandon Flowers was a full participant on Monday, a sign that the veteran cornerback could be healthy enough to take the field for the Chargers for the first time in San Diego's second preseason game at Seattle. "He's working back into it," McCoy said. "It was his first day out in a while, so we'll just take it a day at a time. You've got to get in football shape." Flowers played mostly nickel defender with the starters in passing situations, as he continues to learn San Diego's defensive scheme. Linebacker Donald Butler expects Flowers to make an impact once he learns the system. "I think Brandon's going to be a difference maker on defense for us this year," Butler said. "Obviously, we struggled a little bit last year in the back end. And having a guy like that out there, who's not only smart but a physical guy as well, it's going to be really good for us."
  • Butler talked about how the first-team defense performed against Dallas in the exhibition opener, stating that he did not like his unit's inability to get off of the field during a 14-play drive to open the game. "We easily could have had them in three-and-out," Butler said. "Guys have to make tackles. Shareece (Wright) was there, I was there. So definitely tackling is something that we've got to work on always. But for most part, once they crossed the 50 (yard line) we held them."
  • Along with Flowers, cornerback Marcus Cromartie and offensive lineman Chris Watt were full participants in practice after working on a limited basis Saturday. Receiver Vincent Brown (calf) and Lawrence Guy (shoulder) remain out. Offensive lineman Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) remains on the physically unable to perform list. Cornerback Jason Verrett once again wore a red jersey.
  • Up next: The Chargers practice at noon ET on Tuesday at Chargers Park. This is the final practice of training camp open to the public.

Broncos Camp Report: Day 19

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
6:20
PM ET
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:
  • Linebacker Von Miller, who tore his ACL in the Broncos’ Week 16 win over the Houston Texans last December, continues to progress toward his full return. When training camp opened Miller was essentially limited to individual drills to go with some additional work in seven-on-seven drills. But he has steadily added more in team drills with each passing practice, including Monday when the Broncos were in full pads. It means Miller is likely on track to participate in team drills when the Broncos have the Houston Texans in town next week for three days of practices before the two teams play Aug. 23 in Sports Authority Field at Mile High. It also means that Texans game should be the first look at what the defense looks like with Miller and DeMarcus Ware in the same formation.
  • A seven-on-seven drill is routinely built to favor the offense with no pass rush and plenty of space for the receivers to work, but backup quarterback Brock Osweiler still had a particularly fruitful session worth noting in the practice, tossing two touchdown passes to Nathan Palmer, who spent some time on the Broncos' practice squad last season, as well as a scoring pass to undrafted rookie Bennie Fowler -- all three came in red zone work. On Osweiler’s first scoring pass to Palmer, he dropped it into the right back corner of the end zone over the outstretched arm of cornerback Tony Carter. Again those drills are usually tipped toward the offense, but the throws were accurate and on time.
  • The Broncos’ pass-catchers also had some bobbles on the day as Palmer fumbled in one drill while Isaiah Burse and Fowler dropped catchable passes in one-on-one drills. Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas and Pro Bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas also dropped passes on plays they usually make. Demaryius Thomas' drop came after a spectacular release to shake cornerback Jerome Murphy at the line of scrimmage, but he couldn't hang on to Peyton Manning's pass.
  • Running back Montee Ball said it would be “about a week’’ before he could do some light running as he returns from an appendectomy. And his prediction was right on as a week to the day from Ball’s surgery, he was allowed to do some light running Monday. While there is still a chance he would play in the team’s third preseason game -- against the Texans -- it still appears the schedule will be to hold him out of the preseason games and he would start the Sept. 7 opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Odds and ends: With wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders getting the day off because of a thigh injury -- he played 20 snaps in the preseason opener last Thursday night -- Demaryius Thomas and Andre Caldwell lined up as the two outside receivers with the starters. … Rookie wide receiver Cody Latimer once again showed the size-speed combination the Broncos wanted when they picked him in the second round of May’s draft. Manning hit him down the seam in one-on-ones as Latimer outran rookie cornerback Bradley Roby. … Defensive end Malik Jackson first deflected a pass and then intercepted it in team drills, … Former Broncos Brian Dawkins and Jason Elam were at Monday’s practice.

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