John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs are still in the midst of their OTA practices and new QB Alex Smith is still working on developing a relationship with his new receivers.
One receiver that is getting some extra looks this week as Dexter McCluster recovers from a hamstring injury is former Michigan Wolverine, Junior Hemingway. The Chiefs selected Hemingway in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft but the WR failed to really catch on and spent most of last season on the practice squad.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” said Smith when asked if Hemingway was emerging at OTAs. “He’s had a little window here where he’s getting a little more opportunities because Dex (Dexter McCluster) hasn’t been out here the last couple days. He’s gotten a lot of work and really making the most of it. He’s a guy we’re really moving around a lot. He’s gotten good work.”
Smith seemed hesitant to offer of glowing endorsement of Hemingway, who could have an uphill battle to make the final 53-man roster. Still, the extra work Hemingway is seeing in the wake of McCluster’s injury could end up paying off once training camp arrives.
Ahead of Hemingway on the WR depth chart is a pair of first-round picks in Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin. Baldwin is still looking to live up to his draft stock while Bowe is showing Smith just why the Chiefs made a big investment to re-sign the former LSU Tiger.
For Smith, Baldwin and Bowe present to big targets.
“They’re doing a great job,” said Smith when asked about Baldwin and Bowe. “Everybody across the board is putting in a lot of work and those two guys, especially working with the first unit. We’re getting a lot thrown at us and those guys are making a lot of adjustments. They’re two big targets, really big targets. Dwayne is a really special player. You can see it out here making plays. Anything near him he seems to come down with. That’s what you like as a quarterback, but those guys are doing a great job.”
In interviews, Smith is definitely different than former Chiefs starter Matt Cassel. Cassel was always friendly and a bit of a joker. Smith, on the other hand, comes off a little more business like, though still warm. The young Chiefs could use some leadership in the huddle and hopefully Smith will be able to provide that and keep his teammates on offense accountable and working hard throughout the summer.
What do you think, Addicts? Will Alex Smith be a more demanding leader than Matt Cassel and will it pay off on the field?