Drops Not A Concern

The play of KC's wide receivers in River Falls this week has been a hot topic. While we have seen your normal share of dropped passes, there's also been some solid catches. Some of them have even been spectacular. What exactly does this all mean one week into training camp? Nothing.

The media has been focusing on the offense because it's a given that Kansas City's defense will be good this year. The starting quarterback question is still at large, but meanwhile, some – not all – of the wide receivers have let balls slip through their fingers.

The biggest culprit at the moment is fourth-year receiver Samie Parker. Since his arrival in 2004 he's had difficulty catching easy passes. Yesterday he dropped one that hit him right in the hands.

But he's not alone. Many of the young receivers like Titus Ryan, Ean Randolph, Brent Little, Missouri's Brad Ekwerekwu and Maurice Price have dropped their share of balls. But it's likely none of them are going to get on the field this year for the Chiefs or be in a position to catch a single pass.

On the other hand, veteran Rod Gardner has put in some outstanding work in the absence of first-round pick Dwayne Bowe, and has shown he can be a go-to third down receiver in short yardage situations.

Veteran Eddie Kennison has been all over the field battling Chiefs cornerback Ty Law. At times he wins those battles, and sometimes he doesn't. It's not every day that you face a player of Law or Patrick Surtain's ability.

And let's not forget the Chiefs have a pair of young receivers who expect to be major contributors this season. One of them, Chris Hannon, is the second-best receiver on this football team. The only hiccups he's had thus far in River Falls has been when he tries to catch a pass above his reach. Sure, he's dropped a few. Not everyone can be as perfect as fullback Boomer Grigsby, who has yet to put any ball thrown to him on the ground.

But Jeff Webb, who honestly looked lost in OTAs and Mini-Camp has stepped up his game. All he needs is experience, and with Bowe out he's getting more reps.

So what's the big deal?

At this point a few drops aren't a concern, because the biggest culprits of the dropped pass are not the receivers, in my opinion, but the quarterbacks. Brodie Croyle – the likely starter – has a rocket arm. Damon Huard - the wily veteran - throws a softer ball. Casey Printers is erratic and Princeton rookie Jeff Terrell is in his first training camp. Enough said.

This is a problem for the receivers at the moment. The most important factor for a wide receiver is running solid routes, but hand position is critical.

Veteran guys like Kennison or tight end Tony Gonzalez can adjust. Some of the other guys need to know which quarterback is throwing the ball. When Croyle is in the huddle, the young receivers need to have their hands ready quicker. With Huard, they can be a bit more relaxed. The bottom line is that some of the receivers are adjusting while others – who are on the outside looking in – aren't.

That's to be expected because the quarterback situation will drag out at least until the second preseason game, when Herm Edwards will probably name his starter. Hopefully that means some of the drops currently taking place in River Falls will disappear.

The good news is that the running backs and most of the tight ends aren't having an issue at all with catching the football. The running backs in particular have been fantastic.

Grigsby is batting a perfect 1.000 and the current starter, Michael Bennett, has only dropped a couple. Rookie Kolby Smith catches everything thrown his way and even the other young backs like Marcus O'Keith and Derrick Ross have been better than average.

Right now, the drops in camp don't mean much before the real action begins next weekend in Cleveland. It will only become a problem if the receivers who are going to be counted on this season start dropping passes in the first two exhibition games.

Until then it shouldn't cause any Chiefs fan concern. The only thing they should worry about is Dwayne Bowe finally showing up in Wisconsin.

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