Observations from first full squad camp practice

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Tyler Bray drops back to pass during drills at training camp Saturday in St. Joseph, Mo. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Tyler Bray drops back to pass during drills at training camp Saturday in St. Joseph, Mo. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Tyler Bray got the first opportunity in the fight for the No. 2 quarterback spot, but the battle is far from over.

Bray led the quarterback parade, followed by Aaron Murray and Kevin Hogan. Bray and Murray both shared snaps with the second-team offense.

On a day when the passing game primarily focused on the screen pass game, there were few opportunities for downfield fireworks. Bray did have two miscues, however.

The first came when cornerback Steven Nelson jumped in front of rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill for an interception that would have been an easy touchdown in live action. Later in practice, Marcus Peters made one of the best plays of the day jumping the route and picking off another Bray pass.

Bray and Murray will likely continue to share duties with the second-team offense as the quarterback battle continues.

Improving the screen game

Much of time during team drills was spent on elements of the screen passing game. Coach Andy Reid said the team must get better at the screen game than they were a year ago.

“As far as inside screens, I think we can improve,” Reid said. Outside screens, I think we do tremendous on. So, if you get both in the season going at the same time – you’re doing pretty good.”

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said effective screen passes get the ball into the hands of the team’s speedy playmakers.

“You know you have a blueprint of how it’s supposed to be ran, but it’s all reaction,” Maclin said. “It’s all going off of what kind of happens. It’s almost like being a train. You kind of have people out there blocking for you and to pick where you want to go.”

Gaines working back into rotation

Cornerback Phillip Gaines had a head start on the rest of the veterans, working with the rookies and quarterbacks at camp since Tuesday. Gaines is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee suffered Sept. 28, 2015 against the Packers.

Gaines was a full participant during the rookie portion of camp, but was used only in a few select plays during team drills Saturday. Reid said Chiefs are counting on Gaines returning to top form.

“We expect him to get back to that form and be better,” Reid said. “We’re going to work him in. Is he going to take every snap? Probably not until he kind of gets his wheels under him. He’s done a nice job out here.”

Offense Lineup

Rookie Parker Ehinger lined up with the first-team offense at left guard. The fourth-round draft pick from Cincinnati is battling for one of the only open positions on the line of scrimmage.

Charcandrick West took snaps as the first-team running back with Jamaal Charles (knee/PUP list) and Spencer Ware (illness) not practicing. The remainder of the starting lineup was as expected, including Chris Conley and Albert Wilson lining up with Jeremy Maclin at receiver.

Joining Ehinger on the offensive line was left tackle Eric Fisher, center Mitch Morse, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

Undrafted rookie Zach Sterup from Nebraska lined up at left tackle with the second team offense.

Defense Lineup

With no Houston or Hali to rush the quarterback, Dee Ford and Frank Zombo took the roles as starting outside linebackers. They were backed up on the second team by a rotation of Ramik Wilson, D.J. Alexander and Andy Mulumba.

Stephen Nelson took the corner spot outside Marcus Peters with the first team defense.

At saftey, Ron Parker and Daniel Sorenson ran with the first team.

Training camp attendance

More than 4,100 fans were on hand for the opening day of training camp. Reid thanked the fans for coming out on day one.

“We got a load of people out here today, and we appreciate all of their support,” Reid said.

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Matt Derrick is the associate editor for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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