The Chiefs are five days into training camp and will have their first day off Tuesday. So let’s take a few minutes to discuss what we’ve seen so far in camp.
1. Roster Depth Tested Early
Injuries are apart of the game but the Chiefs already seem to be racking up injuries on both sides of the ball. Donald Stephenson is out with an ankle injury, Phillip Gains may have a concussion, Sanders Commings has a foot injury, Dwayne Bowe missed part of a practice with cramps, and players like Travis Kelce and Eric Fisher are still working their way back from injuries they suffered last season. The names – many of them key players – are a little concerning.
The number one reason why the Chiefs fell off in the second half of last season and lost a 28 point lead to the Colts in the playoffs is because they did not have the necessary depth on their roster to keep them competitive. Look no further than the injuries to Justin Houston and Tamba Hali to see how the lack of depth hurt the Chiefs defense, and the injuries at tight end to see the way the passing game was so inconsistent. Making the playoffs consistently, let alone making the Super Bowl, relies as much on the back third of the roster as it does the top third. Kansas City has the top end talent but the rest of the roster has been an issues for years.
It takes time to build depth but John Dorsey has done a pretty good job of adding talent to supplement the roster in the short amount of time he’s had in Kansas City. With only six draft picks and limited cap space, adding roster depth this offseason was going to be a significant challenge. But it would seem some of the minor moves may start to be paying off for the Chiefs. Here are a few examples.
Demetrius Harris – We know the story pretty well by now, a former basketball player in college who spent all of last season on the Chiefs practice squad learning how to play tight end. The yearlong investment seems to be paying off as it would appear he is on a one-way track to making the team as the Chiefs third tight end. His athleticism and size has impressed those who have seen him at OTAs, minicamp, and training camp.
Ryan Harris – Harris ran with the first team with Donald Stephenson out with an ankle injury. That’s ahead of guys like sixth round draft pick Laurence Duvernay-Tardiff and Jeff Linkenbach. Harris was signed earlier in the week.
Mark Harrison – Terez A. Paylor wrote about him for today’s paper as a guy who has looked good early in training camp. Harrison has excellent size and speed to play on the outside, something the Chiefs desperately need. Harrison has been apart of a small group of receivers including Frankie Hammond and A.J. Jenkins that have been impressive early in camp so far.