Over the last month, the Chiefs have held 13 practices, three of them mandatory, in preparation for the 2016 season. A handful of positions — like backup quarterback, cornerback and left guard — were of particular interest.
Following Thursday’s practice, which will be the last the Chiefs hold until training camp begins in late July, Chiefs coach Andy Reid provided some clarity of the status of a handful of key position battles.
No. 2 quarterback: Reid said he liked what he saw from Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray and Kevin Hogan, who are battling it out for the right to be Alex Smith’s backup.
“I liked what I saw — Tyler and Aaron worked hard and learned from last year, and it shows,” Reid said. “They had some pretty (high-)quality snaps, and Kevin came in and, I thought, did a heck of a job commanding the offense.”
Bray opened OTAs as the No. 2 quarterback, and Murray seized the role for a few practices, but over the past week, Bray reclaimed the No. 2 snaps heading into training camp.
The battle isn’t close to being over, however, as Reid said all of them is need to show what they can do when training camp starts.
“I think the next step is, you get the pads on and then let’s get them in a game,” Reid said. “Let’s see how they can do during games, and then it’s wide open. It’s a wide-open competition.”
No. 2 and No. 3 cornerback: With Marcus Peters, the reigning defensive rookie of the year, nailing down one side, the offseason departure of Sean Smith created a starting opportunity, with second-year pro Steven Nelson and fourth-year pro Marcus Cooper making the most of it.
Third-year corner Phillip Gaines, who tore his ACL last September, did not participate in team drills this month but he did go through warmups and individual drills and has a strong body of work to be considered the early favorite to win the job opposite Peters, provided his knee holds up.
“I’d probably tell you Nelson came out as the nickel right now,” Reid said. “He took snaps at the corner, too. And Gaines, I think when it’s all said and done, will probably be the guy at the (other) corner spot, but we’ll see. Coop got some good snaps out there, and Nelson had some good snaps. We’ll see.”
Left guard: The offseason departure of Jeff Allen left a hole at left guard, one that was filled by third-year pro Zach Fulton to start organized-team activities but was eventually claimed by fourth-round rookie Parker Ehinger, who held on to the job for the last three weeks as he was primarily flanked by left tackle Eric Fisher, center Mitch Morse, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Mitch Schwartz.
“Yeah, I think I feel pretty good about it,” Reid said of his first-string offensive line. “Again, let’s see them hit and bang around a little bit, see how they do in game. But I think we have a nucleus there that’s good — I’d even stretch it into the two-deep.”
Vermeil in attendance
Former Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil observed Thursday’s practice. Vermeil was the Chiefs’ coach from 2001 to 2005.
“Every time I’m around coach, I learn something,” Reid said. “He’s been phenomenal in my career. We kind of followed some of the same steps in Philly and here, and he was born in California, that whole deal. So he’s a wealth of knowledge. I love the guy.”
Receiver Kenny Cook had surgery Thursday to repair a torn quadriceps. He left Tuesday’s practice because of the injury.