ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The heavens smiled on the Kansas City Chiefs’ first day of practice with full pads, and the team took advantage of the opportunity.
Rain forced practice indoors Sunday, and the skies opened opened up with heavy rain before and after Monday’s practice. In between the Chiefs dodged the raindrops, and pleased coach Andy Reid with what he saw.
“They got a ton of reps,” Reid said. “I though they did very well for the first day. For my time here, this was the best first day. Now it’s something to build on.”
Reid said practice in pads is valuable not only to young players but particularly the offensive line that includes two new starters.
“That five there is a new group,” Reid said. “It’s important that they come together. Zach (Fulton) is a rotational guy in that group too, we consider him one of the five. It’s important that they are all dancing the same dance.”
Center Mitch Morse said he believes the offensive line is meshing together well.
“We’re just a unit full of competitors and great guys,” Morse said. “It’s exciting. You want to spend time with those guys, and that means a lot outside the football realm too.
The quarterbacks also got plenty of work, particularly backups Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray. The pair are battling to serve as Alex Smith’s backup and continued to share snaps with the second team offense.
Bray did throw one easy interception to cornerback Marcus Cooper but he also had some of the best moments in practice, showcasing perfect touch on several deep throws.
Reid said the deep ball is one of Bray’s strengths.
“He was good at that in college and he’s carried that on to this level,” Reid said. “He’s got a nice feel and touch for it.”
One of Bray’s best throws was on a wheel route to running back Knile Davis, who made a nice catch downfield for a big gain. Reid said Davis has worked hard to improve his pass-catching skills.
“He’s worked like crazy,” Reid said. “Nobody works harder than Knile.”
Running back is perhaps the Chiefs’ deepest position group, yet still has intense competition. With Jamaal Charles continuing to rehab from his knee injury, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West are splitting the workload at lead running back.
Reid said Davis is an example of what he expects from the team’s running backs in improving their overall game.
“We were able to get some great games out of him,” Reid said. “From more of an I-position, downhill runner, he did a beautiful job. Then he’s continued to work his pass game, he’s gotten better at it. Now we’re putting him in in those situations, and does a good job with it.”
The Chiefs were able to adapt the running game a year ago, with Charles, Ware and West each posting a 100-yard rushing game. Seattle and Buffalo were the only other teams with three different backs to reach 100 yards in a game.
All of the team’s running backs have different strengths and weaknesses, Reid said.
“We’ll take care of your strengths and let you have a opportunity to show those off,” Reid explained “Then let’s get better at our weaknesses.
Offensive line cohesion
Morse said the offensive line is coming together as a unit while blending in two new starters and young backups. He said communication with new right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and rookie left guard Parker Ehinger has been excellent.
“The great thing about those is that they are very smart guys,” Morse said. “They’ve really taken on to the playbook, and it’s exciting.”
Morse is impressed by the play of fourth-round draft pick Ehinger. Morse said he is helping the rookie acclimate to the pro game.
“I was a rookie last year, and it’s interesting to see he’s gone through the same difficulties that I was,” Morse said. “I can be there for him and tell him this. He’s an incredible football player, and to come in like that day one of pads and start, it really means a lot.”
The team made it through the full pad practice injury free. The only injuries listed by Reid are Charles (knee), Justin Houston (knee) and Tamba Hali (knee), and all three remain on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Franchise player Eric Berry remains the team’s lone holdout.
Following open to the public practices at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday and 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, the team takes its first day off on Thursday.