Reid still has to determine the order of the depth chart behind Smith, the starter. Bray has consistently been the next quarterback into drills, the spot reserved for the No. 2 quarterback. But Mahomes has received an equal number of snaps.
If the plan is for Mahomes to take over next season — they traded up 17 spots to get him, and can save $17 million in salary cap space by cutting Smith after this season, so that should be the plan — then they need to help him prepare every way possible.
That means they may be faced with a bizarre and critical decision. If Bray remains ahead of Mahomes at the end of the preseason, do they cut off the younger and more talented Mahomes from reps that could help him close the gap?
Through four days of camp, I can recall seeing Jones drop one single pass thrown his way, a high ball from Tyler Bray on Monday. Other than that, the ball has been sticking to his hands, and he’s been getting looks with the first team.
Wideout Tyreek Hill saw plenty of action in the backfield during split-back formations. He opened up the drive with a 5-yard handoff and later had a short in-route completion from Bray. Travis Kelce spent time maneuvering among tight end, slot and wideout.
“I was very encouraged to see some of the comments he had last week in The Star about the future of camp,” Looney said. “I’m excited to engage him and learn about what’s changed here since I was here last. I value what this is for this region, this campus and this community.”
But Murray, who was a star at Georgia, has landed a new gig: as an announcer with CBS calling college games. The network announced Tuesday that Murray will work with Rich Waltz and Cassie McKinney during broadcasts.
In a vacuum, I’d say that’s worth a third- or fourth-round pick.
But in reality, and assuming I understand how his contract works, I don’t know that a team is going to trade for a quarterback due $20.6 million. Also, any team interested in him knows the Chiefs — and this assumes Patrick Mahomes shows enough to be the guy in 2018 — have to get rid of Smith by the third league day of next season to clear $17 million in cap space.
Hill actually was a pleasant surprise in the passing game because he elevated his performance when the Chiefs lost Maclin to a groin injury. By the time Maclin returned from a four-game absence, Hill had become an invaluable playmaker who was being asked to take on multiple responsibilities each week. As Chiefs Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters said, "He was hungry when he first got here and it displayed in (the) year that he had last year. You know -- a Pro Bowl year. He is just hungry, man."
Eligwe, the Chiefs’ 6-foot-2, 239-pound fifth-round pick from Georgia Southern, is one of seven inside linebackers who have earned first-string reps throughout training camp. Derrick Johnson is a lock to start, barring injury, while Ramik Wilson, Josh Mauga, Justin March-Lillard have all earned significant starting reps with the team. Terrence Smith has also logged meaningful defensive snaps in the regular season, as has Kevin Pierre-Louis, who the team recently acquired from Seattle for special teams ace D.J. Alexander.
The Chiefs again seem to have enough talented pieces to muster a disruptive pass rush. Houston is healthy and will be ready when the season begins. Ford had a breakout season last year, leading the Chiefs with 10 sacks, and they have some capable complimentary rushers.
Still, as they know from last season, that's no guarantee of success. The Chiefs, who were second in the league with 140 sacks from 2013 through 2015, ranked 28th last year with 28.
"Our depth in our linebacking room, I mean we're running out of chairs in the room we've got so many guys in there," Mauga said. "But it's good because the competition raises everybody's level."