ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs are taking the day off from training camp practice at Missouri Western State University. They'll return on Wednesday to begin a six-day stretch of practice sessions leading up to their Aug. 7 preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs have finished five full-squad camp practices. Here, I'll look at three pleasant developments from the first week of camp. Later today, I'll list some of the top disappointments.
1) Everybody is in camp. In running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Justin Houston, the Chiefs had a pair of potential holdouts that had the potential to wreck their season. But both were on the field in time for their first camp practice. Charles is the Chiefs most valuable player. They've done a decent job of surrounding him with complementary talent, but they have no one else with his kind of big-play ability. Houston is arguably their best defensive player. He isn't just a pass-rusher but a solid all-around player. Both Charles and Houston have reasons to play well: Charles in proving he's worth the additional money the Chiefs gave him; Houston in showing he's deserving of being one of the NFL's highest paid linebackers. Each looks primed to have another big season.
2) Young wide receivers are playing well. The Chiefs may have their best crop of young wide receivers in years. Frankie Hammond Jr. is having a strong camp and could develop into a contributor sometime down the road if not this year. He's fast, is catching everything headed his way and has turned in a number of big plays. Albert Wilson, Jerrell Jackson, Darryl Surgent and Mark Harrison are other players who have shown enough ability that the Chiefs should at least keep them around as developmental players. Veteran Kyle Williams is also having a nice camp and looks capable of helping as a slot receiver. The Chiefs may get no more from starting wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery than they did last season but their backup wide receivers could have a bigger impact.
3) Strong on special teams again. The Chiefs won in the kicking game in many of their games last season and look poised to do so again. In rookie De'Anthony Thomas, the Chiefs have a skilled punt returner to replace the departed Dexter McCluster. Thomas needs work on catching the ball and making good judgments but that will come in time. He's fast and capable of making tacklers miss. Knile Davis should be better as a kickoff returner than he was last season. Dustin Colquitt is one of the league's top punters. Judging by results in camp, the Chiefs can't go wrong in choosing at kicker between veteran Ryan Succop and rookie Cairo Santos.