The Kansas City Chiefs have been busy the past few weeks, having signed all their draft picks, hosted mini-camp for their rookies, and completed two of their three OTAs. This week they will finish the rest of their OTAs before beginning their mandatory mini-camp next week (June 17-19). Only 90 days until their first regular season game! This is exciting news for me because it means that I am getting married in 89 days.
I have not been able to view any of the OTAs personally, but analyses from those across the internet have been very positive. Per NFL rules, players are not allowed to wear pads during OTAs, and therefore there is no tackling. Justin Houston and Brandon Flowers have not shown up for OTAs and there is no indication if they will attend the mandatory mini-camp next week. They can be fined for not attending the mini-camp, so that will be a storyline to keep an eye on. Marcus Cooper has been playing in Flowers’ place.
Some potential training camp battles are starting to take shape. Probably the most interesting ones are at quarterback and tight end. Alex Smith is the clear No. 1 at QB, but Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray will be vying for the two backup spots. It is hard to see the Chiefs cutting Murray after spending a fifth round draft pick on him, but everyone talks about Bray’s strong arm. Daniel has the most experience, but also has the largest contract and could be expendable. At tight end, Anthony Fasano is reported to be healthy and looking good although Travis Kelce has been sitting out OTAs. Demetrius Harris, who was on the practice squad last year, has been reported to be catching the coaches’ eyes so far as he is able to use his height and basketball background to make catches high in the air. Having that sort of target in the middle of the field will vastly open things up for Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles this season, assuming Harris makes the squad.
On the offensive line, Eric Fisher will not participate in any contact until training camp as he tries to heal from two offseason surgeries (shoulder and sports hernia). Donald Stephenson, who will be the starting right tackle, has taken his place, providing a chance for some other players to get some work in at right tackle.
At receiver, Junior Hemingway has gotten some looks in the slot while rookie De’Anthony Thomas finishes classes at Oregon. If I am correct, this is the last week of classes, so Thomas should be present at next week’s minicamp. Personally, I would love to see more of Hemingway. Although he is sort of slow and only had 13 catches (2 TD’s) last season, his size (6’1” and 225 lbs.) and strong hands make him a great target for Alex Smith, especially in the red zone. Lining up in the slot, he could be a big body that opens up a hole for Charles or Knile Davis, or even pull a defender away from Dwayne Bowe. And if he struggles, Thomas could step in and fill the role that Dexter McCluster played last season.
Knile Davis, who broke his leg in the playoff game, is practicing at OTAs and is listed as Charles’ backup and is also the first in line for kickoff returns. Davis is another player that I would like to see more of in 2014. He played extremely well as last season wore on, and looked fantastic in the playoff game. And despite losing Quentin Demps and his 30 yards per kickoff return average to the New York Giants, Davis actually averaged 31 yards per return last year, which is very encouraging.
In NFL news, several Chiefs have made the list of the Top 100 players by the NFL Network, who are voted on by their peers. So far, only the second 50 of the top 100 have been released, with Justin Houston checking in at #57 and Derrick Johnson at #64. Jamaal Charles will certainly make the list, along with Tamba Hali. In other news, Alex Smith threw out the first pitch at a Royals game recently. It is nice to see the Royals and Chiefs support each other and hopefully the Chiefs’ neighbors at the Truman Sports Complex will experience more success soon. Kansas City deserves a playoff win by the Chiefs or Royals soon!
We will keep you posted on Chiefs’ happenings this summer here at Chiefs360.com. Go Chiefs!