Red Zone

Ask Terez: Wrapping up the Chiefs’ OTAs and looking ahead to training camp

As Bobby Knight would say, I’m not here to (mess) around this week. You may be, but I’m not, so we’re just going to jump right into this thing. As always, I’ll keep it one-hundred with you.

The only running back I could see them trading right now is Knile Davis. Davis is a good kick returner who wants to get more carries and opportunities as a runner. He got some first-team reps throughout OTAs this year but he’s solidly behind Jamaal Charles, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware.

(By the way, for fantasy purposes: I think Spencer Ware could have a huge year if Andy Reid gets him the ball. He looks great in camp. He’s running hard, he looks quick and he caught a ton of passes in OTAs, so he’s looking like a do-it-all type of back. Still, I could totally see him split carries with Charles and West, so don’t go overboard on draft day.)

Yeah. He throws with good anticipation, he throws with some zip, and his long delivery isn’t nearly as bad I thought it would be. He even throws with some touch. That guy’s got a chance to be a solid quarterback in this league.

KeiVarae Russell is the most physically gifted of the three of them, based on pure athleticism, so he probably has the most upside. He’s also got the best chance at playing time, considering he was a third-round pick who earned some second-team reps in OTAs. Eric Murray started flashing at safety later in OTAs; he’s never played there and he’s undersized but he’s a tough son of a gun with a nose for the ball. D.J. White was hampered by a hamstring strain late in camp but he has good instincts and a feel for the position.

I think they end up keeping one, and I think they end up keeping Hill. This regime doesn’t like cutting rookie draft picks, and Hill was one of the stars of OTAs. He showed enough to earn another offseason with the team, even if he disappears once the pads come on during training camp (which sometimes happens). If they cut or trade Davis, Hill will return kicks and punts.

Now, there’s a case to be made for keeping Thomas — he’s a dangerous returner in his own right, and a useful player in their myriad of packaged plays — but the Chiefs already have a glut of receivers, and hey, this is just pure speculation, but I’m not sure he’d be entirely good with splitting return duties and playing time in the slot with “The Rookie” after hearing him say this a few weeks ago.

Just saying.

I don’t know, but even Dee Ford will tell you that Dee Ford needs to be better in 2016. He needs to do a better job of bending to the quarterback — he gets pushed wide of the quarterback too often — and hone some other pass-rush moves to counter his excellent speed rush. The news that he’s dealing with tendinitis in his knee isn’t exactly encouraging, but the Chiefs need him to take a big step up this year. Otherwise, with Justin Houston out, their edge rush could be a real problem.

They’re giving him every opportunity to win the job. They’ll slide someone else in if he struggles mightiliy in pads, though.

I personally need to see offensive linemen in pads before I can tell anything, but I do like the concept of putting Eric Fisher and Parker Ehinger — two Michigan boys — next to each other. Hearing the way they talked about each other, I could see them having a good repoire. Center Mitch Morse is a pretty genial dude, as is guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, while Mitch Schwartz is one of the best right tackles in football. So yes, I could see this group vibing well and jelling together.

I think he will. Jamaal has done it once before, and he loves football, so I’d hesitate to doubt him, especially in what amounts to a contract year. Charles has a cap number of $7.5 million in 2017, which they can clear completely off the books by cutting him. Money should be tight next season — they’ve already got $162 million committed to 2017, and that’s without Eric Berry’s extension — and with West and Ware looking the part, the Chiefs might be forced to extend Charles next season (thus, creating more cap room up front) or cut him. But let’s worry about 2016 first.

Not very. Nothing matters until the pads come on, really.

Right tackle. Mitch Schwartz is an enormous upgrade over Jah Reid, who could serve as the swing tackle or slide into the starting lineup at either guard position. Receiver is probably a little better too, with the additions of Rod Streater — an intriguing possession guy — and Hill. They’re weaker at outside linebacker (due to Houston’s injury), quarterback, safety and cornerback, though the latter two don’t worry me as much. The young corners are talented.

Quarterbacks are playing longer these days, and given how hard it is to find a competent one, I think they will — though they will continue to seek a high-upside long-term developmental option.

Good question. I’d be surprised if Hogan didn’t make the team, to be honest. He’s made a few grown-man throws already, so he’s worth developing. He’ll either make it outright or get hurt or something. However, DAT, Knile, Cooper and Fleming are all in the same tier of players in danger of being cut. Ranking them at this point is pointless, though I will say that Cooper has rotated in with the first team at corner throughout OTAs, so I think he’s ahead of Fleming on the depth chart, even though Fleming is a key special teams player. The thing working against both of them is that the Chiefs drafted three corners this year and it would go against this regime’s track record to cut any of them, which means a helpful veteran or two could easily be processed out.

Conley is the No. 2 and Albert Wilson is the slot, but Streater, Hill and Thomas all worked in with the first team during OTAs.

Oh boy, it’s about that time, isn’t it? Anyway, there were plenty of fire tracks played during OTAs, but I’ll go with “Errrbody” by Yo Gotti.

On that note, I’m out. (But to answer your question, never bet against Justin Houston. Guy is a beast with a nasty streak).

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