From the Truman Sports Complex
The ebb and flow of NFL practices constantly shifts the advantage from offense to defense and back again, and again, and . . .
As the Chiefs wrapped up their first week of OTA practices on Thursday afternoon, it was Andy Reid’s defense that led the way. Specifically, it was the secondary that kept making plays and taking the football away from the Chiefs pass offense.
“The work has been good out here,” Reid said of the three workouts in the 10 off-season sessions he’s allowed to hold. “It’s been all positive. The guys are challenging each other. Offense makes a few plays, defensive plays and that’s how you like it.”
Cornerback Sean Smith had two interceptions, with cornerback Deji Olatoye and safeties Kelcie McCray and Daniel Sanderson hauling in passes in the middle of the field that were tipped by teammates.
“You need the turnovers on the defensive side,” said Reid. “You obviously don’t want them on the offensive side, but we’re getting good work in there where both sides are being effective. I like it. I like the way they’re challenging each other within the rules of you can’t tackle and you can’t play bump, so they’re doing a good job.”
Only special teams, the Chiefs worked on punt returns with De’Anthony Thomas, Jeremy Maclin and Albert Wilson handling the returns. Maclin’s work there was strictly a matter of insurance â€“ there are no plans for the team’s No. 1 receiver to return punts.
“You just want to make sure he’s ready,” said Reid. “You have limited numbers that you can dress on game day, so you don’t know what rotation you’re going to have there with receivers and returners, so it gives you an opportunity to keep him fresh. We don’t work him every day like the other guys.”
As predicted by Reid, the offensive line shuffling continued in Thursday’s practice. Donald Stephenson was on the No. 1 unit at left tackle, with Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff at right guard and Jeff Allen at right tackle. Draft choice Mitch Morse worked at both center and right guard. Paul Fanaika served was at left guard with the No. 2 group. It’s all about finding enough snaps for all those players competing for the starting jobs, let alone roster spots.
“Actually Fish(er) has done a very nice job, so I wouldn’t read anything into that,” said Reid of Stephenson working at left tackle. “It’s the only way we can get Donald reps there, and we want to get everybody covered (at multiple positions.) We are staying consistent and moving people around.”
Eighty of the 90 players on the roster took part in the workout, with 82 on the field. Attending but not practicing were running backs Cyrus Gray (knee) and Keshawn Hill (hamstring), along with guard Jarrod Pughsley (hamstring.) Third-round draft choice wide receiver Chris Conley was absent due to his participation in the NFL Players Association-NFL Rookie Showcase in Los Angeles.
Also missing were quarterback Tyler Bray (knee), cornerbacks Steven Nelson and Marcus Peters (NFL rules), safety Eric Perry (lymphoma), linebacker Justin Houston (without a contract) and tight end Demetrius Harris (foot).