Chiefs Traning Camp Report: Day 8

ST. JOSEPH, MO - On Friday, you could tell that some of the players hit the wall. After a week on the practice field, their bodies are sore, the heat gets to them, and they just want to get extra rest. It's the time when their batteries run low and they begin to see the light of a much needed day off on Sunday. In the meantime, there is no rest for the weary.

It was clear the players didn't have the same pace in Friday's two-a-day practices. But to their credit, despite the obvious fatigue, they were still hitting each other. And, yes, return man Dexter McCluster was still breaking ankles today as his Chiefs' mates whiffed when they tried to tackle him during punt return drills. He's just flat out sick! It's not fair. Thank goodness he's a Kansas City Chief.
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But we can't just focus on him. The biggest thing that stood out for me today were the receivers. Outside of Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers and McCluster, the remaining three receivers -- assuming the Chiefs keep six and not five -- could come from anywhere.

Jerheme Urban reminds me of Marc Boerigter, but with more speed. I love the potential of Jeremy Horne from UMass. He made a great back of the end zone catch in the afternoon practice before crashing into the barrier separating himself from the fans.

Dwayne Bowe may not be talking to the media because he's busy doing his show on the field in St. Joe.
Justin Olson/Warpaint Illustrated.



In another group rests two that Haley admires, Lance Long and Terrence Copper. But I can't see either making this football team. That leaves Quinten Lawrence and my sleeper Rich Gunnel to fill out a spot or two.

Right now, Lawrence is the team' best gunner on special teams, so he's going to get an edge over Gunnel. That leaves newly signed Verran Tucker as the odd man out.

Still, anything can happen between now and the first of September. Each player brings something to the team. The fact the Chiefs are only carrying ten receivers in camp tells me that six is probably the magic number -- mainly because McCluster can play running back as well.

Either way, this is a group that's going to have to define themselves in the four preseason games ahead. Though all of them have looked sharp in practices, it all changes when the jerseys on the other side of the field want to rip your head off.

Nick's Camp Notes:
THE BIG THREE

Rookie CB Javier Arenas took some lumps again in practice today. Though he's been stellar on special teams, the young cornerback was burned on some deep pass patterns Friday. Despite the struggles at the moment, Arenas is expected to be the team's top nickel back. Because he possesses such blazing speed, the Alabama native is already an accomplished blitzing corner -- something the Chiefs need desperately.

With questions along the defensive line - as in who is going to consistently sack the quarterback this season -- the Chiefs are going to have to apply pressure from other positions. That's a place where Arenas fits outside of special teams and that's why the Chiefs took him in the second round. But there is a problem looming if Brandon Carr continues to struggle. Arenas might be thrown into a position he's not ready for, and if that happens, it could hurt his duty on special teams. Oh well, I guess that means more reps for McCluster!

WR Chris Chambers told the media this week that he was tired of talking about the fact that the Chiefs led the league in dropped passes. But on Friday, he dropped a perfectly executed flea-flicker that fell right through his hands. It drew some ire from the local fans in St. Joseph, who wanted to see a successful play.

I know his teammates were disappointed and I doubt his offensive coaching staff was all too thrilled with the drop. The Chiefs are counting on Chambers to play at a high level this year, as he did a season ago when he joined the team before the Jacksonville game. Once he joined the roster, he was arguably the most consistent recover they had all season long.

G Ikechuku Ndukwe took a lot at snaps at left guard today thanks to a pair of injuries ahead of him. Brian Waters has yet to practice with the team and his back-up Darryl Harris had his ankle rolled over at Thursday's practice. Though the injury isn't serious, he was not on the field Friday.

Ndukwe struggled last year as a fill-in starter along the Chiefs offensive line, but he made a key block in the afternoon practice that sprang running back Jamaal Charles to a long touchdown run. The coaching staff was hoping third round pick Jon Asamoah would be better at this point in camp but that's not the case. In fact, he's playing behind undrafted rookie Lemuel Jeanpierre. That's not good.

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