July 21, 2014; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs wide receiver Weston Dressler address media following the first training camp practice with rookies, quarterbacks and select veterans. Credit: Joel Thorman, ArrowheadPride.com.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Chiefs have 13 wide receivers for training camp, with at least four challenging for the slot position.
Of course, that’s not including rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas, who can also play slot wide receiver.
Wide receiver Weston Dressler is one of the four competing at slot.
And he knows the competition will be fierce against Junior Hemingway, Albert Wilson and Frankie Hammond, among others the Chiefs may give a look at the position.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Dressler said following Monday morning’s practice. “There are a lot of guys fighting for spots on this team and it’s no different from any other camp I’ve been a part of. You just go out there and try and do your best every day. What happens, happens.”
Still, Dressler has experience to help prepare for the coming weeks.
He played six years in the Canadian Football League prior to signing with the Chiefs on Feb. 4. The 2008 CFL Most Outstanding Rookie and two-time CFL All-Star could have an edge given his understanding of what it takes to succeed in a training camp.
“I’ve been playing football for a long time,” Dressler said, “so I’ve been through a lot of camps. Obviously different league, different rules and different things like that, but I’ve played a lot of football. So I know what camp entails and what you have to do to make it through and try and make a team.”
Dressler, 29, said he spent a lot of time during the break staying in shape by running gassers, a form of interval training incorporating full sprints across a football field.
But working out on his own isn’t the same thing he’ll face in the coming days once the veterans report and the team goes to full pads.
“You really can’t get yourself fully prepared for a camp,” Dressler said. “It’s nothing like running against guys full speed, getting after it and competing. You do as much as you can running around.”
The good news on Dressler’s running surrounds the left hamstring he hurt during organized team activities (OTAs).
He missed the final day of OTAs and was limited during minicamp, but that’s in the past.
“I feel great,” Dressler said of his hamstring. “I’m ready to go. I’m prepared to go through this camp and try and do as much as I can in order to make this team.”
Ready for action
Second-year tight end Travis Kelce didn’t participate in team-related drills during minicamp as he recovered from microfracture knee surgery.
But that changed during Monday morning’s practice with the rookies and quarterbacks Monday. Kelce, who isn’t wearing a brace or sleeve on his left knee, ran with no limitations during 7-on-7 drills.
He looked good planting and catching passes, and showed no concerns over his knee.
“It feels good,” Kelce said. “I’m out here trying to get reps and trying to get back into football shape so I can play a full 16-game season.”
Kelce’s recovery fits within the timetable for microfracture knee surgery, but he went through a process of returning to where he was before the early October 2013 procedure.
“Getting the whole leg strength, the quad strength, the calf strength,” Kelce said, “sitting around for such a long time just waiting for it to heal. I’m trying to get those muscles to trigger and fire and get my explosiveness back. That was probably the hardest and the longest to do.”
The Chiefs apparently felt good about Kelce to allow him to practice, which made him ineligible to be placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
In addition to working out at tight end, Kelce took snaps as a long snapper during special team drills.
“The first position I ever played was long snapper in high school,” he said. “Then I eventually moved to quarterback, but that was back in the day.”
Of note, tight end Sean McGrath was the backup long snapper to Thomas Gafford in 2013.
Kelce, McGrath, Anthony Fasano, Demetrius Harris and Richard Gordon are set to compete for roster spots at tight end.
Rookies, quarterbacks training camp practice observations
• Rookie fullback James Baker was not present for personal reasons, according to a team spokesman.
• A total of 35 players were present for practice, which was conducted in helmet and shorts:
||Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray
|Running backs (3)
||De’Anthony Thomas, Charcandrick West, Jordan Campbell (FB)
|Wide receivers (10)
||Deon Anthony, Weston Dressler, Frankie Hammond, Mark Harrison, Jerrell Jackson, A.J. Jenkins, Darryl Surgent, Fred Williams, Kyle Williams, Albert Wilson
|Tight end (2)
||Demetrius Harris, Travis Kelce
|Offensive line (3)
||Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Zach Fulton, Ben Gottschalk
|Defensive line (2)
||Dominique Hamilton, Kona Schwenke
||Dee Ford, DeRon Furr, Alonzo Highsmith, Ben Johnson
|Defensive backs (6)
||Malcolm Bronson, Phillip Gaines, Brandon Jones, Vernon Kearney, Chris Owens, Daniel Sorenson
• Running back Joe McKnight, who was placed on the PUP list, observed practice from the side without his helmet. The Chiefs also placed cornerback David Van Dyke (hamstring) on the PUP list, and he wasn’t present on the practice field.
• Quarterback Aaron Murray (knee), tight end Travis Kelce (knee) and wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee) are ineligible to be placed on the PUP list because they practiced Monday.
• Dropped passes came in bunches, including from wide receivers A.J. Jenkins, Weston Dressler, Mark Harrison and Deon Anthony, tight end Demetrius Harris and running back De’Anthony Thomas. Still, it’s the first day back from a more than month break from minicamp. This isn’t a concern as of now.
• Wide receiver Kyle Williams, who returns from ACL surgery on his left knee, looked fine during 7-on-7 drills. He ran full speed and isn’t wearing brace.
• Running back De’Anthony Thomas spent virtually the entire morning practice working with the running backs. That’s not surprising, however, as there were only three backfield players present.
• Cornerback Phillip Gaines had a nice leaping pass breakup on deep right sideline pass from quarterback Alex Smith to wide receiver Jerrell Jackson during 7-on-7 drills.
• Quarterback Aaron Murray threw a gorgeous deep pass down the right sideline to wide receiver Frankie Hammond, who beat cornerback Brandon Jones.
• Quarterback Alex Smith connected deep on the left sideline with wide receiver Fred Williams, who beat cornerback Vernon Kearney.
• Cornerback Brandon Jones, who signed with the Chiefs after being waived by San Diego a day after cornerback Brandon Flowers signed with the Chargers, is wearing No. 24. That’s Flowers’ former jersey number.
• Wide receiver Mark Harrison, whom the Chiefs signed following minicamp, is wearing No. 22, which is former Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster’s old number.