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Andy Reid likes what he sees from his backup wide receivers

The Chiefs head coach talked about play design and backup wideouts after training camp practice on Monday

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs-Training Camp Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

One of the team’s worst-kept secrets is that the Kansas City Chiefs are deep at the wide receiver position. Behind Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, the Chiefs have several young wide receivers who have shown head coach Andy Reid and his staff a lot of promise during training camp.

After Monday’s practice in St. Joseph, Reid discussed the main focus of the day — and a major staple in the Chiefs offense: screen plays. While they may seem like the simplest play in the book, Reid was quick to dispel that idea.

“No play is simple in the NFL, just make sure you know that,” Reid chuckled. “The screen game is something that’s a big part of our offense. We have a variety of them; they’re all a little different. We try to get everybody involved with them. I enjoy teaching that like the other ones too. Lucky to have [offensive coordinator] Eric Bieniemy, who has been the guy that’s run them before who has a nice feel for those and helps design those.”

Reid then mentioned rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman, his ability to quickly grasp the playbook and the improvements he’s made during camp.

“He’s a smart kid,” Reid said. “I think it was just him getting used to the speed of the game. And then every route here, there’s no route that’s off. Not with a quarterback like we have. You have to run hard on everything.

“He’s a good route runner now. The things we’re asking him to do, some of those things he didn’t have to do [at Georgia]... We’re asking him to do all of the short and intermediate stuff too, things over the middle. That’s something that’s new for him.”

Another receiver Reid mentioned was Kansas State product Byron Pringle. Pringle had a promising preseason last year before sustaining a hamstring injury — and according to Reid, has returned in a big way.

“I like what he’s doing,” he said. “We’ve expanded his role. You see him mixing in there, rotating in. I guess, just getting back into the flow of things, coming off of an injury. He had that big game against Green Bay [last preseason] and you go, ‘Wow, he’s coming on. He’s got a pretty good feel for this thing.’

“I think he’s doing a good job. Strong player.”

And while he isn’t the most physically dominating player on the Chiefs unofficial roster, former Toledo receiver Cody Thompson has also caught Reid’s attention. The Chiefs signed the undrafted free agent during the offseason in the hope of getting a big return on a player that showed a lot of potential in his early college career.

“He’s a good route runner,” Reid said of Thompson. “He’s not blessed with blazing speed or big size, but he knows how to run routes. Probably a better inside guy in the slot position, but he’s played everywhere. Smart.

“I’m curious to see how he does in the preseason games. He’s got talent.”

The Chiefs have talented pass catchers up and down the roster — which means there will be tough decisions for Reid and his staff when it’s time for the final 53-man roster cuts. But if what Reid says is true, the Chiefs will be strong at wide receiver — no matter how they decide to fill out the roster.

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