ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Kansas City Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University:
Those eagerly anticipating the Chiefs to unveil a pass-rush package that includes Pro Bowl linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali and first-round draft pick Dee Ford will have to wait some more. The Chiefs worked extensively in the nickel defense in practice, but Ford wasn't with the first team. He played with the second unit as the left end in pass-rush situations. A promotion for Ford in the nickel may be coming soon. "Any time you have a skill, a unique skill, whether it is cover, rush, whatever, we are going to try and find a way to use that, and whether we have to create a little personnel group to do that or whatever, we are going to attempt to do that," Sutton said. "I'm sure down the road we are going to try and figure out a way to get all those guys on the field. They're all good players."
An intense kicking battle between the incumbent, Ryan Succop, and rookie free agent Cairo Santos is well under way. Both players made their field-goal attempts from 45, 48, 48 again, 50 and 52 yards. "I think he’s an NFL-caliber kicker," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said of Santos, who played collegiately at Tulane. "I think he’s going to be in the NFL, whether it’s on our team or on another team. The competition is real and we’re excited about Cairo and what he’s able to bring. Succop has the advantage of experience, but his contract is more expensive than Santos'. Succop would be due $2 million this year in salary and bonuses, Santos $422,000.
Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery look solid as the starting wide receivers, and Junior Hemingway and A.J. Jenkins will probably make the Chiefs as backups. An interesting battle has developed for the other one or two roster spots. Frankie Hammond Jr., Kyle Williams, Mark Harrison and rookie free agent Albert Wilson are all making strong claims for a spot. The Chiefs will probably have to let at least two of them go. Hammond, Williams and Wilson are fast and could play as slot receivers. Harrison, at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, is bigger and has caught everything thrown near him. Hemingway hasn't practiced recently because of a sore hamstring, but coach Andy Reid said he would return when the Chiefs next practice on Wednesday. Bowe returned to practice after missing the final portion of Sunday's session with cramps.
Tight end Travis Kelce returned to practice after being held out of Sunday's session because of a sore knee. One of the big stories of camp for the Chiefs is whether Kelce can consistently practice. He's an important component in the passing game.
Recently signed offensive tackle Ryan Harris is getting a lot of work. With the starting group, he has provided a rest for left tackle Eric Fisher and has been the replacement for the injured Donald Stephenson on the right side. Harris may or may not make the team, but the Chiefs did well to bring him to camp. They don't have much depth at tackle, and Harris may be the only one who comes off the bench capable of playing left tackle.