KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There’s an area on offense that has become increasingly difficult to ignore as the Chiefs have gone through voluntary organized team activities (OTAs).
And that’s the rapport between quarterback Alex Smith and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, an attribute coach Andy Reid touched on last week when discussing Smith’s maturation in the system.
“I think he’s more familiar with all of his receivers – Dwayne included – and he’s more familiar with the offense,” Reid said of Smith during Day Six’s media session. “They all are. So you hope that that’s the next step that takes place there, where they can all pick their game up even a little bit better than they were last year.”
Of course, the team is in shorts and helmet. But Smith has looked sharp through nine days of OTAs, connecting frequently with his primary wide receivers in Bowe and Donnie Avery.
Smith’s timing with Bowe in particular has been on target. And it was on full display during Thursday’s workout on two of the nicest back-shoulder completions observed during all 11-on-11 drills combined.
On the first play, Bowe put a double move on cornerback Ron Parker down the right sideline and Smith connected with a perfectly thrown pass. The second pass also victimized Parker, who never turned his head before the ball arrived.
“We’re doing well right now,” Bowe said Thursday of his timing with Smith. “We only can get better with time and that’s what OTAs are for – to come down with the timing and just be consistent and that’s what you’re working for.”
Seeing the relationship between Bowe and Smith improve in Reid’s version of the West Coast offense offers optimism of a rebound season for Bowe, who caught 57 passes for 672 yards and five touchdowns last season.
While the true test of chemistry occurs once the pads come on in training camp, the year together allowed growth in the system as the players enter a second season.
“Last year everybody was getting a feel for it,” Bowe said. “Now it’s like a brother-in-law. He’s doing great and that’s all you can ask for.”
Running back Jamaal Charles was absent Thursday for personal reasons.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston and cornerback Brandon Flowers were not present for a ninth straight voluntary OTA.
Cornerback David Van Dyke (hamstring), cornerback Chris Owens (undisclosed) and wide receiver Junior Hemingway (illness) were also not present. Hemingway hasn’t practiced this week, while Owens left the field Tuesday. His status should be updated by the team on Friday.
Rookie inside linebacker Ben Johnson, who missed time with a hamstring injury, returned to the field Thursday.
The two players recovering from 2013 knee injuries, tight end Travis Kelce (knee) and wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee), continue to be present and observe from the sideline.
Rookie running back/specialist De’Anthony Thomas, absent because of Oregon’s quarter system, is expected back for next week’s mandatory minicamp.
• Wide receiver Weston Dressler injured his hamstring and did not finish Thursday’s workout. Prior to the injury, Dressler put a double move on rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines to beat him downfield for the reception from quarterback Alex Smith. Dressler pulled up after hauling in the catch, immediately reaching back for what appeared to be his left hamstring.
• Cornerback Sean Smith, who was arrested and cited early Monday morning for a DUI, continues to run with the second team ran. Smith came up with two interceptions during 11-on-11 drills, one off quarterback Chase Daniel with the other coming off Tyler Bray with the second team for a third straight day.
• With Sean Smith relegated to the second-team defense, Marcus Cooper has filled in at the right cornerback position, Ron Parker at the left cornerback position and free safety Malcolm Bronson filled in at the slot for Chris Owens.
• Cornerback Ron Parker experienced growing pains Thursday. He was beat badly on a deep touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Bray to wide receiver Darryl Surgent. On the play, Parker appeared to lose sight of the ball. The other two bad defensive plays came on back shoulder throws from quarterback Alex Smith to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Parker redeemed himself later by breaking up a pass from Smith intended for Bowe.
• With Jamaal Charles missing Thursday for personal reasons, running backs Knile Davis and Joe McKnight split repetitions with the first team during 11-on-11. McKnight dropped a perfectly placed over the shoulder pass from Alex Smith after getting behind the defense.
• During special teams punt return drills, running back Joe McKnight, wide receiver Albert Wilson, wide receiver Frankie Hammond and wide receiver Weston Dressler (before his hamstring injury) rotated. The order will change on two factors during next week’s mandatory minicamp: De’Anthony Thomas’ return and the severity of Dressler’s injury.
• Rookie strong safety Daniel Sorenson turned in a very good day against the pass with the second-team defense. Sorensen intercepted an errant pass from quarterback Chase Daniel for what would’ve been a pick-6 in a live game. The former BYU Cougar also broke up a pass intended for tight end Sean McGrath.
• Tight end Demetrius Harris had a noticeable drop on what should’ve been an easy catch during 11-on-11, but quickly rebounded with yet another athletic catch of the diving variety a few plays later.
• After Weston Dressler, who ran out of the slot with the first-team during 11-on-11 in place of Junior Hemingway, left the field with a hamstring injury, Frankie Hammond took over at the slot.
• The shuffle on the right side of the offensive line during 11-on-11 drills continues with the rotation of Rishaw Johnson and Zach Fulton at right guard, and J’Marcus Webb and Jeff Linkenbach at right tackle.
• Quarterback Chase Daniel showed nice touch on a deep pass down the left sideline to connect with wide receiver Jerrell Jackson.
• The Chiefs wrap up the voluntary OTAs Friday before reporting next week for mandatory minicamp on June 17-19.