Camp Haley may only be a few practices old, but already an unpleasant annoyance seems to be emerging in the form of dropped passes. The severity of the issue is real enough that prior to Sunday’s session, WRs Dwayne Bowe and Jeff Webb were seen taking reps on the Jugs machine. Alarmingly, the struggles not only persisted throughout the day but also seem to spread like a virus affecting any and all.
It could be argued that the players might be pressing somewhat in an attempt to please their new boss, or are still just getting adjusted to camp itself. But nonetheless, regardless of the player’s mindset the problem must be resolved immediately.
Later in the day during Sunday’s press conference, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley commented on the problem directly, “To play receiver in the NFL I think you must catch most of the footballs. If you don’t catch most of them – and there’s always going to be some balls that end up on the ground for one reason or the other – to be an NFL receiver you must be able to catch the football.
That’s the top prerequisite for wide receiver. It’s not just Dwayne, it’s any wide receiver who is out there. They must concentrate and catch the football whether they’re going to take a hit, or whether they’re on the sideline and they have to get their feet in, or it’s an easy ball over the middle that they’ve got to concentrate, or it’s a deep ball, that’s the job description.”
To the credit of the head coach and the Chiefs front office, not only has the problem been identified and communicated, but also, an initial plan of corrective action might have been agreed upon and in the works. Sunday evening, NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reported that according to a league source, the Chiefs will be working out free agent wide receiver DJ Hackett later today.
Hackett was released earlier this year after one season with the Carolina Panthers. In 2008, Hackett played in just nine games with two starts producing 13 receptions for 181 yards. The talented but often injured former 2004 5th round selection of the Seahawks, spent his first four NFL seasons as a teammate of current Chiefs wideout Bobby Engram while in Seattle. Hackett’s most productive year was in 2006, when he compiled 45 catches for 610 yards and four TDs in 14 games with five starts.
Hackett has had tryouts with the Lions, Ravens, Buccaneers and the Redskins. Washington offered a contract to Hackett after his attending the Redskins mini-camp. The chances of Hackett signing with Chiefs could be enhanced with the recent injury (finger) of Redskins WR Roydell Williams.
The addition of D.J. Hackett to the Chiefs receiving unit might not be the only move forthcoming. If in fact the Chiefs do desire to continue adding and upgrading the wide receiver ranks, this could be accomplished later in training camp via a trade. As ESPN.com Adam Schefter reports, one team that could support such a trade might be the Philadelphia Eagles. His report indicates that do to the Eagles depth at the receiver position, the team could explore trade options.