ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- After three weeks at their summer home at Missouri Western State University, the Kansas City Chiefs are heading home. They will resume practice in Kansas City next week, after Sunday night’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.
Like all teams at their camps, the Chiefs experienced some positives and some negatives. Coach Andy Reid said that on balance, the Chiefs are where he hoped they’d be at this particular milepost.
"You see back and forth production," Reid said. "That to me is a positive thing. If one side is dominating the other side every snap, you might have a problem. But they’ve gone back and forth. I feel they’ve done some good work and they’re in a good place.
"I appreciate the way the players practiced. They came in in great shape and then they attacked the camp so we were able to keep injuries at a minimum, which is always a concern, and we were able to get a lot of good work done."
Here are a couple of the positive developments over the past three weeks:
1) The Chiefs are healthy at tight end and will get a lot more help from players at that position than they got last season. Travis Kelce showed what he was capable of in last week’s game when he caught a short pass and then outran Cincinnati’s secondary to complete a 69-yard touchdown. Starter Anthony Fasano won’t contribute big numbers but is a steady presence. Demetrius Harris, a college basketball player, looks ready to be a part of things. Reid’s offense has been friendly for tight ends over the years. But because of injuries to Fasano, Kelce and Tony Moeaki last season, Chiefs tight ends were limited to 53 catches last year. They’ll easily top that number this season.
2) Rookie De’Anthony Thomas looks like he can be another big-play threat besides Jamaal Charles. Because Thomas is only 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds, the Chiefs will be limited in how much they can utilize him. But he’s shown the ability to contribute as a punt returner, running back, wide receiver and slot receiver. His speed is something opposing defenses have no choice but to respect.
Here are a couple of negative developments from the past three weeks:
1) Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry has spent plenty of time on the sideline because of what the Chiefs are calling tendonitis in his heel. The Chiefs initially believed the injury to be minor but it has lingered and he’s missed more practice time than they thought. The loss of Berry, even for a short time, would have disastrous results for the Chiefs. They have precious little depth at safety and would have trouble replacing an average player much less one of the best in the league.
2) The pass defense in last week’s game looked suspiciously like it did for most of the season’s second half last season. In limited playing time against Cincinnati’s starters, the Chiefs allowed a 53-yard pass play. The same cornerback, Ron Parker, was later beaten for a touchdown by a backup receiver. The Chiefs are rotating three cornerbacks, including Parker, in the starting lineup in hopes of finding a suitable combination. The problem is that other than Sean Smith, the Chiefs have little to choose from.