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Chiefs rookie minicamp not a thing of beauty

The SportsXchange

Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has a new and personal perspective on the saying, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

After wincing through the team's rookie minicamp this weekend, Reid will be happy when even that first step is made properly. And that certainly wasn't the case for undrafted free agent quarterback Tyler Bray, whose missteps were only part of a ragged weekend performance that included 63 mostly new players.

"I'm not used to the huddle," said Bray. "We (Tennessee) did no-huddle and hand signals. Now I have to hear the play caller, go in the huddle and try to make sure everyone knows what they're doing."

None of it was unexpected for Reid and his coaching staff. They made the indecision and sloppiness happen by pouring a big dose of the offensive playbook on the players in the short time they were around.

"We're throwing a lot of stuff at these guys," Reid said. "We're asking them to do different techniques than they did at the college level."

Despite the sloppiness, there were a few players that stood out during the practices and they were the names the Chiefs expected -- No. 1 draft choice offensive tackle Eric Fisher and third-round draft picks tight end Travis Kelce and running back Knile Davis.

Fisher worked exclusively at right tackle, where he will begin his pro career with Branden Albert staying at left tackle.

"I think if you can play the left side you can definitely play the right side," said Reid. "I know he can do that. I thought he handled it well. He didn't have a lot of mistakes out there and then his fundamentals, he looked like he was doing a good job of that."

Reid reported that Albert will join the team for the start of OTA sessions. Albert has stayed away from the offseason program after the Chiefs tagged him with the franchise player designation, and then put him on the market to see if they could trade him.

"I just wanted to communicate; I felt that was important," Reid said of his phone calls to Albert. "I wanted to make sure we touched base." Reid reiterated that Albert will remain at left tackle while No. 1 draft choice Eric Fisher will start his pro career at right tackle, a position he has not played since his sophomore year at Central Michigan.

"It felt pretty good," Fisher said during the minicamp. "It's going to take a little bit to transition. It's going to take a little bit for the muscle memory. But as far as the mental part of it, I think I'm picking it up pretty well."

Kelce showed very quickly that when it comes to catching the ball the University of Cincinnati product could to the Chiefs offense very quickly.

"Going from a spread offense, you're getting signals from the sideline," Kelce said. "Now in the huddle, you hear a play with about a paragraph of a play, and you have to pick out what is specifically coming to you and things like that. It's sort of a challenge."

Davis came out of the University of Arkansas a year early after suffering through some injury problems. Plus, there was a fumbling problem last season with the Razorbacks.

"To me, it's mental, just being aware, keeping it high and tight," Davis said of the fumbles. "Coach (Eric Bienemy) had us running with the heavy ball and putting the emphasis on keeping it high and tight so when we got the light balls out it was just second nature."

Defensively, coordinator Bob Sutton's installation of scheme and fundamentals went much smoother, especially with a number of rookies making position shifts. Fifth-round cornerback Sanford Commings from the University of Georgia was working as a safety and seventh-round defensive end Mike Catapano out of Princeton University was now an outside linebacker.

Reid was especially pleased to see Commings at safety; he primarily played cornerback at the University of Georgia.

"He looked good making the transition," Reid said. "He seemed comfortable there."

The coaches also liked what they saw from inside linebacker Nico Johnson. The fifth-round choice out of the University of Alabama has a real chance to be part of the starting lineup come September.

Among the 13 undrafted free agents the Chiefs signed, several grabbed the attention of the coaching staff, including Jackson State wide receiver Rico Richardson, Columbia outside linebacker Josh Martin and Kansas safety Bradley McDougald.
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