ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Peters didn’t waste time announcing his presence Monday morning while filling in for cornerback Phillip Gaines.
Peters, who took over Gaines’ spot with the first-team offense after Gaines tweaked his knee, intercepted an Alex Smith pass on the right sideline intended for tight end Travis Kelce during 11-on-11 drills.
The Chiefs’ first-round pick of the 2015 NFL Draft finished the practice, which was moved indoors due to the weather, with at least three interceptions in full pads.
“I played fast,” Peters said. “I made some plays on the ball. I’ve been having some chances to make some plays on the ball, but I couldn’t capitalize on them. Learn from today and grow from it.”
Defensive teammates were there to greet Peters after every big play with chest bumps and pats to the helmet.
And he also earned praise from coach Andy Reid after practice.
“Marcus did some really nice things,” Reid said. “He had a couple of nice plays.”
The complimenting, however, came with tempered enthusiasm expected from a head coach.
“Now it’s important that he’s consistent,” Reid said. “So, he did nice things, and now you’ve got to come right back with it and do it again.”
Gaines eventually returned to practice field, but seeing Peters making plays in full pads offered an encouraging sign of the rookie’s development.
Cornerback Sean Smith is suspended the first three games of the regular season and the Chiefs will need a player to step up.
It remains to be seen if Peters will be a starter to open the season, but he’s prepared for whatever the Chiefs require.
“I’ll do what the team needs me to do,” Peters said. “That’s all I have to say about that.”
LEAN, MEAN HITTNG MACHINE
Defensive end Mike Catapano missed the 2014 season after an illness and concussion landed him on injured reserve.
The third-year pro trained hard during the offseason to get himself in shape and left no doubt how he felt about where he currently stands physically.
“I think I’m the leanest, meanest, 290 in the NFL right now,” Catapano emphatically said of his weight.
Where Catapano is now paled in comparison to where he was a year ago.
Catapano battled a gastrointestinal-based virus during training camp, missed the preseason and eventually started the season on non-football injury list. The concussion ended his season.
It was clear he hasn’t taken his return to football for granted, especially with the Chiefs holding the first practice of camp in pads.
“It feels unbelievable to be back out here,” Catapano said. “I mean, really. I had a real mix of emotions this morning; excitement, nervousness, everything. Just to get a chance to be out here with my teammates again is what I’ve been waiting for all year, so it’s just a special day for me.”
• Best quote overheard among a group of defensive linemen on the sideline watching the action on the field arrived when wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas caught a pass out of the slot, and then turned up the field leading to a defensive player to exclaim: “Damn, he’s fast!”
• Running back Charcandrick West continues to shine through the early portion of camp displaying explosion and exceptional receiving skills out of the backfield. West, who is making a push for the No. 3 running back spot, also took repetitions on special teams as punter Dustin Colquitt’s personal protector, a role vacated by Cyrus Gray, who was waived before the start of training camp.
• While the Chiefs were in full pads, there wasn’t full contact except in spots like what occurred during 7-on-7 drills. Wide receiver Jeret Smith came across the middle and was prepared to haul in a catch. The problem was he crossed second-year safety Daniel Sorensen, who came up and obliterated Smith to knock the ball loose. The result of the play led to loud Ric Flair-like “Wooo!” cheers from the defense.
• The Chiefs had some spirited one-on-one drills between the defensive linemen, outside linebackers and offensive linemen. Some of the highlights include guard Ben Grubbs more than holding his own against the bull rushes of Jaye Howard and Vaughn Martin; rookie defensive tackle Charles Tuaau blowing by the center (couldn’t make out the number); outside linebacker Dee Ford displaying his explosive first step by dipping low and getting by right tackle Donald Stephenson; and rookie outside linebacker Sage Harold easily getting by left tackle Jarrod Pughsley.
• Strong safety Eric Berry continues to see most of his time with the first-team defense in the nickel package through three training camp practices. He did, however, return to his traditional role and even played single-high whenever the Chiefs pulled free safety Husain Abdullah and strong safety Ron Parker and sent in Berry and Tyvon Branch as replacements.
• The Chiefs are rotating long snappers James Winchester and rookie Andrew East, but Winchester took the first set of snaps during field goal attempts. Expect this battle to continue through training camp and be settled before the end of preseason action.
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.