ST. JOSEPH, Mo – On the 10th day of their stay at Camp Andy 2015, the inhabitants were a little bit cranky.
For the first time in this year’s Chiefs training camp, there were skirmishes between offense and defense during the Sunday morning practice at Missouri Western State University.
Chalk it up to too long in the dorm room, too many physical practices and muggy weather conditions. This team needs to bump up against a team with a different colored jersey.
The Chiefs had to leave the field for the second time in the last week because of thunderstorms blowing through St. Joe, complete with lightning.
After working for approximately an hour indoors, they returned to the field and contributed some thunder and lightning of their own.
The most intense altercation involved wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and cornerback Marcus Cooper. As Maclin came across the middle to catch a throw from quarterback Alex Smith, Cooper gave him a shot to the neck and the back of his helmet. Maclin expressed his displeasure verbally then pushed Cooper, who responded by throwing a punch. Maclin reciprocated before teammates got between them.
Maclin came off the field still hot however, chucking his helmet and standing behind the rest of the team in an attempt to regain his composure. Eventually, he came back into the practice.
Next was a pushing match between wide receiver Albert Wilson and rookie cornerback Steven Nelson. Wilson ran down field with purpose to throw a block on a running play and took out Nelson, who did not appreciate the effort of his teammate. They quickly walked away from further histrionics.
The third bout came with running back Charcandrick West pushing and shoving with cornerback Jamell Fleming as they got up from the turf after a play. That too was a brief exchange.
“It’s just part of the game,” said wide receiver Jason Avant, who took a hard hit over the middle from safety Tyvon Branch, but did not answer in anger. “It’s competition. Guys want to make the team and sometimes temper flare. But you need it because nobody is going to pay your rent if you get cut, so you go out there and do it as hard as you can.”
In the first two camps held by coach Andy Reid, the number of altercations between teammates could be counted on one hand. In year three, they had a hat trick in one practice.
“The main thing we want is to be as competitive as we can possibly be,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “What happened today happened. I don’t think it’s any big deal. I don’t think there’s any ill-will between anybody out there. It’s two people trying to accomplish the same goal and it got a little bit chippy. To me, it’s more about competing.”
Among the combatants, only Maclin has a spot locked up for the opening game roster. The rest are at different stages of fighting to remain with the team and make the 53-man regular-season roster. Avant said there would be no grudges held or problems off the field because of the extracurricular actions of Sunday.
“It all goes away,” Avant said. “When you are out there competing, sometimes you can say anything; You say ‘Doritos’ and the guy goes ‘What!’ It’s part of the game.”
A good and bad day for Cairo Santos
One would think that any practice where a kicker hits a 64-yard field goal with a tricky crosswind qualifies as a successful day. Not so on Sunday with Cairo Santos.
The second-year kicker missed three of his 11 attempts, including one kick that was 33 yards, or the new distance for extra-point kicks this year in the NFL. Santos was wide right on another attempt and was then short on his first attempt from 64 yards.
It continued a recent trend for the native of Brazil who has not been as efficient as he was in last year’s camp when he beat out veteran Ryan Succop for the job.
“Today wasn’t a great day,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “He missed an extra point today; that’s uncalled for. He’s got to approach the extra points like a field goal. You don’t just go up there and tap it through. Those are things we are still working through.
“Then, he goes back there and makes a 64-yarder. There’s a happy medium there … we just have to settle him down and get him focused more. It’s more mental than it is anything.”
Punter Dustin Colquitt said Santos wasn’t expected to make the 64-yard kick.
“That was supposed to be a return ball back and we’re supposed to cover that,” Colquitt said. “It wasn’t even supposed to go in, but he nailed it.”
From the training room
One addition to the injury report on Sunday was outside linebacker Dee Ford, who suffered what appeared to be post-concussion symptoms after practice on Saturday. No word on how soon he’ll return.
Ford joins a long list of injured Chiefs that were held out of Sunday’s work:
• QB Tyler Bray (knee).
• WR Chris Conley (knee).
• OT Garrett Frye (knee.)
• TE Demetrius Harris (foot).
• WR Junior Hemingway (hip).
• ILB James-Michael Johnson (calf).
• NT Dontari Poe (back),
• WR Jeret Smith (hamstring).
• TE Ryan Taylor (quad).
• DL Nick Williams (concussion).
It was the third consecutive day that all 10 of those players have been off the practice field.
Offensive line shuffle continues
For the first week of camp, the same group of five players worked as the No. 1 offensive line. That changed Sunday when the coaching staff made some changes.
University of Missouri rookie Mitch Morse moved into the starting spot at center. Last year’s starter at right guard Zach Fulton was back in the No. 1 spot for the first time in this camp. Fulton took the place of Jeff Allen, who moved out to right tackle where he replaced Donald Stephenson. Unchanged was the left side of the line with Eric Fisher at tackle and Ben Grubbs playing guard.
With the No. 2 offensive line, Stephenson worked at left tackle and Eric Kush at center, with left guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right guard Paul Fanaika. Working at right tackle Jarrod Pughsley and Tavon Rooks appeared to split the snaps.
Offensive tackle Anthony Dima and wide receiver Adam Drake were on the field for Sunday’s practice. They were added to the roster on Saturday … Maclin had the catch of the day, as he hauled in a deep pass in the middle of the field as he was falling to the turf while juggling the ball with Phillip Gaines in tight coverage … tight end Travis Kelce had a tough day, dropping several passes including one where he tipped a very catchable ball in the air and it was intercepted by Gaines … cornerback Sean Smith got limited work during practice as Gaines and rookie Marcus Peters got the first team snaps. Sutton said it was all part of preparation for the start of the season when the Chiefs will be without Smith for the first three games … the Chiefs are scheduled to practice Monday at MWSU, starting at 9:15 a.m.
Bob Gretz is the senior editor for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @BobGretzcom.