Chiefs Top Storylines of Training Camp

Nov 29, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 30-22. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 30-22. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /
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Rakeem Nunez-Roches (99). Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports
Rakeem Nunez-Roches (99). Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports /

Defensive Linemen: Dontari Poe, Allen Bailey, Jaye Howard and Chris Jones seem to be locks. Other players in the mix will be Rakeem Nunez-Roches, David King and Nick Williams.

Inside Linebacker: Because Derrick Johnson, Ramik Wilson and Justin March appear to each have the inside track on a roster spot, Josh Mauga and D.J. Alexander could be vying for one position.

Outside Linebacker: The Chiefs have a hoard of players here. Tamba, Houston, Ford, Zombo all appear safe while Dadi Nicolas, Jonathan Massaquoi and Dezman Moses all look like they’re competing for one spot and a chance to play on special teams. In reality, their ability on special teams may be the deciding factor.

Cornerback: Andy Reid has stated that his first unit is set for now consisting of, Marcus Peters, Phillip Gaines with Steven Nelson in the slot. That leaves a sea of rookies to compete for backup roles and special teams positions.

Safety: Eric Berry, Ron Parker are shoe-ins. The battle fr the two remaining positions will most likely be between Marcus Cooper, Jamell Fleming, Daniel Sorensen, Eric Murray and Stevie Brown.

The Chiefs don’t typically like to let their first year — drafted — players walk so it’s also hard to see Tyreek Hill being sent packing.

Another storyline many writers are already pursuing is the either/or saga of De’Anthony Thomas and/or Tyreek Hill. Isn’t there an alternate universe in which the Chiefs keep both?

What seems clear here this year — pertaining to the wide receiver position — is that there is an abundance of talent to be sorted through. That alone, should make this one of the most exciting camps ever. Hmm, I wonder if Dick Vermeil visiting camp this past week was any indication that he was giving his advice on how to turn this team into the offensive juggernaut that his teams with K.C. and St. Louis were?

Back to the Future Storylines

Kansas City has so many good players returning from injury that many have speculated that if they were at full strength at the end of last year, they could have made it to the Super Bowl. Now… hopefully… with each of these players healthy the team can get back to the future.

Rehab and return of Justin March

March appears to have recovered fully from his knee issue. Camp is going to be his personal re-audition for the big stage and Andy Reid is ready to see what he’s got when the pads come on and the hitting begins. Justin March has said he’s looking forward to that as well and although he’s smallish for a middle linebacker (he’s 6-foot-2 and 222 lbs. compared to DJ who goes 6-foot-3 and 242 lbs.) he has skills in coverage. When asked how he got good in coverage March said,

"“In college, I did a lot of it in college being man-on-man on tight ends, playing out in space, I played a SAM linebacker in the 4-3… I was outside always in space.”"

Some are now enamored with Josh Mauga and see March as a potential replacement for him. Only time… and camp… will tell.

Rehab and return of Phillip Gaines

Phillip Gaines has looked strong in OTAs and has already been named as the starting corner opposite Marcus Peters. If Gaines can return to the level he’d reached just prior to his injury, the Chiefs could have a special secondary (which would also, of course, mean that they’d have a special pass rush… again).

Rehab and return of Justin Houston

Justin Houston is apparently ready to take the field now… mentally and spiritually… but coach Reid thinks he probably won’t be on the field with the team in practice. “Mentally and spiritually” you ask? Take a look at some of Houston’s recent tweets:

If Justin Houston is anything like Eric Berry… we already know they’re close friends… he should be back sooner than predicted by his doctors and then return to Pro Bowl form post haste. In Andy Reid’s words, “He’s bound and determined to be back and when you’re around him you feel his optimism.” The Justin Houston storyline could be magical during Summer camp.

Rehab and return of Jamaal Charles

Jamaal Charles return during camp will probably not be full-go until the third week of camp. As with his return from a knee injury in 2011, it was hard to keep him off the field in 2012 when he rushed for a career high 1,509 rushing yards.

Rehab and return of Tamba Hali

Want to talk about trying to keep a player off the field? Try that with Tamba Hali. It’s hard to think of another player who exemplifies an incredible work ethic more than Tamba Hali. While Andy Reid was joking about Hali’s workouts, this week he said,

"“The thing you’ve gotta do with Tamba is back him down a little bit. He’s [usually] full throttle…. not too many of us in this room could probably hang with him with his workouts, cause he’s unbelievable.”"

Now, Andy Reid was addressing the media at that moment, sooooo… I’m not sure who he was referring to, who he thought could, or could not, “hang” with Hali in his workouts. Presumably not Adam Teicher… nor Terez Paylor… nor Sam Mellinger… nor anyone other media type, past or present, that comes to mind. I’m sure Reid meant to say, “…not too many of us in the UNIVERSE could probably hang with him.”

As far as storylines for camp go… expect the Tamba Hali rehab story to fade into the abyss of another strong season for him.

Next: Offensive Line Storyline?