ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Some thoughts and observations on Friday's Kansas City Chiefs training camp practice at Missouri Western State University:
The Chiefs had both of their top running backs, Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, in the lineup on the first play of practice. While the Chiefs might not use a formation featuring both players often, they might go that way on occasion. The Chiefs need to find a way to get more from Davis, who at 227 pounds is much bigger than Charles but also might be as fast. One thing the Chiefs don't appear ready to do is provide more relief to Charles, their best offensive player. "When it's in the heat of the battle and it's kind of crunch time, you want your [best players] on the field,'' offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "That's the bottom line. Jamaal is a part of that and he's going to be on the football field regardless of how many touches he's had early in the game or how many plays he has leading up to that point.''
Dropped passes haven't been a particular problem for the Chiefs at camp, but their receivers had a rough stretch when Anthony Fasano and A.J. Jenkins each had drops on back-to-back plays. Those mistakes usually hurt the Chiefs more than their opponents. Counting the playoff game, the Chiefs had 19 fewer pass plays of 20 or more yards, so they need to be more efficient than their opponents if that happens again this season.
Another thing that would help the passing game would be a return to form by their No. 1 wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe. Encouraged by the arrival of coach Andy Reid in Kansas City, Bowe last year famously predicted he would lead the NFL in receiving. He responded with what was the worst full statistical season of his career. Bowe isn't making any such bold proclamations this year. "I just shoot every day to be the best person I can be and just make it contagious,'' Bowe said. "I just hope everybody else can tag along and we can put some wins together.''
Last season's backup deep snapper was Sean McGrath, who is not in camp and contemplating retirement. The Chiefs are trying to develop tight end Travis Kelce into the backup snapper for Thomas Gafford, but the project isn't going so well. Kelce gave punter Dustin Colquitt a workout with his snaps, sending one well to each side of Colquitt and sailing a couple over his head. "He'll get there,'' Colquitt said. "He's athletic and that's what it takes.''
The Chiefs spent much of the practice working on special teams or with the offense working on one field and the defense on the other. Things should get more interesting in Saturday's practice. The Chiefs will work for the first time at camp in full pads.