Chiefs camp: 5 storylines to watch


The Kansas City Chiefs are finally back in full swing. On Saturday, the entire team will be on the practice field in St. Joseph, Mo., getting into the swing of what hopefully will be a season extending well beyond 16 games.

Going into camp, the Chiefs have plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Despite the absence of nose tackle Dontari Poe (back surgery), Kansas City’s defense should be stronger with the returns of Mike DeVito, Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry. Offensively, the team has added Jeremy Maclin and Ben Grubbs, while getting Travis Kelce, De’Anthony Thomas and Albert Wilson another year in the system.

With all that said, there still remain a few question marks heading into camp. Here is what you need to be watching for as the veterans hit the field with the rookies.

1) How does the offensive line gel?

First, who does head coach Andy Reid line up as his starting five on Saturday, and in the days beyond? Without question, Eric Fisher and Grubbs are going to be the left side, but does Reid rotate guys on the right side oralready know who the starters are going to be?

Once the starters have been determined, how quickly can these men come together? Other than Fisher, there is a very good chance that we have four new starters in this group. That isn’t easy.

2) Who takes the lead at No. 2 receiver?

We all know that Chris Conley has missed the last couple of days with a knee strain, losing valuable reps. Now the other guy shows up in Albert Wilson. It seems these two will be battling for the starting spot opposite of Maclin, while Thomas and Jason Avant work out of the slot.

Wilson has the leg up because he was here last year, but the Chiefs didn’t spend a third-round pick on Conley to park him on the bench. Whoever wins this battle will be critical to Kansas City’s success.

3) How do Johnson, DeVito and Berry look?

This will make the difference between what was a very strong defense last year, and a great defense. Johnson and DeVito missed 15 games each last year with a pair of torn Achilles’. Berry, as we all know, was out for multiple games because of an Achilles injury before being diagnosed with cancer.

All three are healthy and in camp. Can they return to their previous forms? If they can, this is going to be a monster defense.

4) How do the corners look?

With Sean Smith suspended for the first three games of the season, this is a group under fire. Can Marcus Cooper bounce back from a horrid 2014 and make himself worthy of a roster spot? How do Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson look as a rookies? Phillip Gaines has been getting plenty of good publicity, but is he ready to take on the best receivers in the game?

My guess is that Peters and Gaines start immediately, with either Ron Parker or Nelson alongside them. This is a critical battle.

5.) Who is the surprise player?

Last year, it was Wilson who came out of nowhere as an undrafted free-agent to make the team. In past years, men like Brian Waters and Tony Richardson done the same. Did general manager JOhn Dorsey find any gems after the draft or even very late in the draft?