Safety Jamell Fleming – With Eric Berry’s training camp status in doubt and the departures of Husain Abdullah and Tyvon Branch, the safety position is wide open. It’s a tremendous opportunity for the cornerback-turned-safety to stake his claim as either a starter or key backup.
Tight end Ross Travis - While the Chiefs practiced in shorts and helmet with no contact, Travis consistently made plays and looked smooth catching passes. The Chiefs kept four tight ends on the active 53-man roster the past season, and Travis could push Brian Parker as the fourth option behind Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris and James O’Shaughnessy.
The Chiefs used three draft picks on cornerbacks KeiVarae Russell (third round), Eric Murray (fourth round) and D.J. White (sixth round) in the 2016 NFL Draft. And the trio will get plenty of work in the coming weeks leading to the regular season. While Marcus Cooper, who enters the final year of his contract, saw plenty of repetitions at safety during organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp, he could also be in the mix at cornerback. And with so many possibilities for the Chiefs to consider, buckle in for what will be a hotly contested battle for the open spots.
But during organized team activities, he showcased both blazing speed and surprising ball skills. Many players have starred during OTAs only to flame out in training camp, but if Hill maintains the same dynamism over the next month, the Chiefs will have a very intriguing talent on their hands.
"That’s really what this defense is," says DeVito, who retired from football in April after spending the past three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. "It allows a lot of guys a lot of freedom that I think, in a lot of other systems, we don’t have. But along with that comes a lot of responsibility in knowing what’s going on. So, in the classroom, we would go over these defenses ... just over and over. "We would install them Day One of the offseason program and then we’d work our way up through the OTAs. And when OTAs started, we’d start ‘Defense One’ over again. And then, when minicamp started, we’d start at ‘Defense One’ over again. So by the time we got through (offseason workouts), you had been through the playbook three times. And getting to training camp, it was same thing: Day One, ‘Defense One’ again. "It was all about mastering the program."
NFC West: Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, and Kansas City Chiefs. This division may very well be the most stacked division in football. The AFC West essentially traded the Rams for the Cardinals and effectively created the division of death. Every team, with the exception of the Chargers, has an outside chance to win the conference every season.
It’s starting to feel like I could just lead my pre-training camp post with this same thought every year. Once again my biggest concern on this team is how well the offensive line will play. I love the addition of Mitchell Schwartz, Mitch Morse looks like a future Pro Bowler (assuming his concussion that ended his rookie season was a one time thing), and Eric Fisher is coming off his best season so far and is playing for a contract. That’s all well and good but the Chiefs have two huge question marks at guard and if the guard play is poor the entire line will struggle.
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson departed in the offseason to become head coach in Philadelphia, and Reid turned to a pair of trusted lieutenants to fill his role. Matt Nagy was promoted from quarterbacks coach to co-offensive coordinator and will be the voice in the helmet of quarterback Alex Smith, while Brad Childress became the other co-offensive coordinator after working on special projects. "Matt’s got a great mind, and obviously Andy’s got a fertile mind," said Childress, who spent time with Reid in Philadelphia before a stint as Vikings head coach. "I’ll be able to add to that."
When they walked off the field as a group for the last time after the end of their 2015 season, the Ravens knew change was inevitable. Turnover permeates every NFL offseason, but a 5-11 finish revealed the Ravens as a team in particular need of it.
"They have a great chance to win their division," said Jerome Bettis, a Hall of Fame running back who now serves as an NFL analyst for ESPN. "When you look at the defending Super Bowl champs, the Denver Broncos, they are nowhere as good as they were last year, so you can expect that they are going to come back down to earth. Oakland is the one team that I think is going to compete well against Kansas City for the division. I think Kansas City definitely is the favorite."