For the second day in a row this week, cornerback Kendall Fuller and wide receiver Sammy Watkins were held out of practice. Starting right tackle Mitch Schwartz was back in the mix after missing practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury.
At least in the media portion of practice (the first 20 minutes), replacing Fuller in workouts was Charvarius Ward, not rookie Tremon Smith.
Charvarius Ward and not Tremon Smith lined up with the starters at cornerback with Kendall Fuller out. The Chiefs acquired Ward from Cowboys in preseason. He’s played almost exclusively on special teams.— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) December 20, 2018
The Chiefs traded offensive lineman Parker Ehinger to the Dallas Cowboys for Ward prior to the season and as Adam Teicher of ESPN noted, Ward has just 10 defensive snaps this season. The rookie sixth-rounder in Smith, also the team’s kick returner, has 16 snaps.
“[Smith] has done a good job,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said in his press availability on Thursday. “We’ve had him work both corner, nickel. Obviously he’s been involved with the teams and that type of thing, so I think he’s progressed pretty nicely at this point.”
If Fuller is held out against Seattle on Sunday night, it remains to be seen who gets the call.
The other item of note is the appearance of Chiefs starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who was working on the sideline. The Chiefs placed Duvernay-Tardif on Injured Reserve with a fractured fibula back in early October.
Chiefs practicing indoors today but one player working outside: RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. He was running through drills with a trainer without the walking boot. Still on injured reserve, so return not imminent.— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) December 20, 2018
The last we heard from Duvernay-Tardif was that he “dropped the scooter,” so it was a positive sign to see him surface on Thursday. The Chiefs can still designate another player to return from IR after using their first call-up on Daniel Sorensen earlier this season.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talked about Duvernay-Tardif at his press conference Monday.
“He’s not ready yet,” Reid said. “We will just see as we go down the road here how he’s doing. He’s a little bit ahead of schedule, so we will just see where that takes him from here until the end of the season or the playoffs. We will have to see how that goes, but right now he’s not ready to go.”
The extra week that comes with a first-round bye could help get the Chiefs fully healthy for postseason play. Sunday night’s stakes could not be any bigger at this point.