Bags were packed on moving day at Chiefs camp. The sixth year of working out at Missouri Western State University ended with Military Appreciation Day capped by a flyover from a C-130 Airlift Wing stationed at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.
“First practice I’ve ever been at where there was a flyover,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s normally saved for Super Bowls. How awesome was that?”
Here are five things the Chiefs accomplished and learned about themselves over the past month.
1) There has to be a primary concern, right? It’s the offensive line, and the revolving door of starters.
When camp opened the starting line from left to right consisted of Eric Fisher, Ben Grubbs, Eric Kush, Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson. That lasted a week. Out went Kush, Allen and Stephenson and in came rookie Mitch Morse at center, Zach Fulton at guard and Allen at right tackle.
Then injuries got added to the equation. Fisher has a high ankle sprain and Allen a knee sprain. They’ll miss Friday’s game against the Seahawks.
Jarrod Pughsley, Paul Fanaika and Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff have also worked as starters.
Grubbs has been the lone constant at his position, and Fisher was having a good camp and will return to his spot when he heals. Everything else seems uncertain.
“I think by the time you get to your third week when your starters are playing a lot, three quarters, you should have that ironed out,” offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said.
How will it shake out for the regular-season opener? It’s anyone’s guess.
2) Chiefs have a wide receiver-palooza
A Chiefs wide receiver is getting to the end zone this season, count on it. Not only did general manager John Dorsey and Reid address one of the team’s biggest needs with the signing of Jeremy Maclin, they drafted promising Chris Conley, along with Da’Ron Brown and have developed productive practice players like Albert Wilson, Frankie Hammond and Fred Williams.
Highlight-reel receptions became a daily occurrence. Hammond, Williams and Brown each caught a touchdown pass against the Cardinals last week. Look for Conley, who missed that game, to make his debut Friday. There’s not enough room on the roster for them all. One or two could find themselves on the practice squad or another NFL roster in a matter of weeks.
“Every kid we got out there got a chance to play and that might not be the case in every game,” wide receivers coach David Culley said. “But you’re going to get a chance to say if you can or cannot play in this league.”
3) Financial success hasn’t spoiled Justin Houston
Two weeks before camp, Houston signed the richest contract in Chiefs history, a six-year, $101 million deal that includes $52.5 million guaranteed.
Players have been known to use that deal as a mattress and relax. But Houston’s work ethic has drawn raves from coaches, They see no let-up in Houston, who topped the NFL with 22 sacks last season.
“I don’t see that, if anything he’s been the other way,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “He’s been very vocal, very involved getting everybody on the right page, the way we want to practice. When you have one of those guys, it’s such a plus for your team.”
4) Eric Berry’s workload will increase
Berry’s recovery from Hodgkin lymphoma is the NFL’s feel-good story of the preseason, and camp was Berry’s next step. He got in regular work, usually with the second team, but played only eight snaps in the preseason opener. The workload should increase Friday.
“This is really a chance to get back into football, the fundamentals of his position, and every day out there talking with him he’s becoming more comfortable,” Sutton said.
5) No joint practices while Reid is the coach
Joint practices can be lively as the punches thrown during the Cowboys-Rams and the Washington-Texans have proved. Reid said he’s not interested in sharing the practice field with another team.
“From a selfish standpoint, in today’s world with technology, there’s not a lot of secrets, and so really you have your coaching points and teaching points on the field,” Reid said. “I really don’t want anybody (else) hearing that. As much as I can keep in-house in today’s world, I’d like to do. I think you give up a little bit of that. It just isn’t my style.”