KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs rookie tight end Brian Parker was active in Week 8 over fellow rookie tight end James O’Shaughnessy.
But the decision to go with Parker, who was inactive the previous seven games, alongside tight ends Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris had more to do with the game plan against the Detroit Lions in London.
“I think Brian is a little bit better in-line blocker,” coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. “Maybe not as quite as good of a receiver, but a good in-line blocker. I thought we needed that at that moment, and we’ll see this week.”
Tight ends coach Tom Melvin agreed.
“I don’t think it was what you get, what we weren’t getting from James, but they’re two different skillsets,” Melvin said on Nov. 2. “You know, James is a primary route runner. He’s very good down field and that part of the game, and then Brian is definitely a primary blocker is where his skillset is. That’s what fit the game plan and the decision making.”
With a commitment to the run in Week 8, the Chiefs punished the Lions with a season-high 206 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground.
The 6-4, 265-pound Parker only played 17 snaps of the offense’s 65 plays, but he made the most of them, helping spring two scores with key blocks.
“The two touchdowns, that was pretty big for him,” Melvin said.
Parker, an undrafted free agent out of Albany, joined the Chiefs on Sept. 6 after being claimed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers, while the Chiefs used a fifth-round pick on the 6-4, 245-pound O’Shaughnessy.
It remains to be seen who will play Sunday against the Denver Broncos, but Reid made it clear he wasn’t down on O’Shaughnessy.
“I like where O’Shaughnessy is going,” Reid said. “Again, sometimes you can take a little step back to step forward. I don’t think he’s quite physically strong as Brian is right now. I think both of them—I’m not down on O’Shaughnessy, that’s not where we are at. I think James has a bright future. We’re lucky to have both of those guys.”
VETERANS DAY HAS SPECIAL MEANING
Chiefs rookie offensive lineman Laurence Gibson, who is on the practice squad, has close ties to the military.
He attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia and his mother is currently on active duty while stationed with the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Growing up around the Army meant the Veterans Day holiday had special meaning.
“I would say anytime she comes back to the country, those are the best memories I have,” Gibson said of his mother. “It doesn’t always land on Veterans Day, but it still means a lot.”
Gibson also credits his time at Hargrave Military Academy for helping shape him.
“I was a corporal,” Gibson said with a smile. “Honestly, a lot of it, that foundation to handle that amount of discipline has made everything a cakewalk. Going from so much structure to where I’m at now, it definitely helped me out, it was definitely worth it.”
The 24-year-old Gibson, who played collegiately at Virginia Tech, said he visited a veterans hospital in Virginia a “couple of times.”
Those experiences have him planning to continue giving back to the military in the Kansas City area once his schedule permits.
“As soon as I get more time,” Gibson said, “I’d love to get back to doing that here, too.”
The Chiefs elevated second-year defensive back Saalim Hakim from the practice squad to the active roster Monday after waiving wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr.
Although listed as a defensive back, Hakim can play wide receiver, which offered intrigue as to how the Chiefs plan to use him.
Coach Andy Reid helped clear the air.
“I would tell you probably more on special teams,” Reid said. “He’s kind of close to 300 snaps as a special teams player. So we had an opportunity to go back and look at his tape. We think he can help us in a couple spots there.”
Hakim, who originally joined the Chiefs practice squad on Oct. 13, can also return kicks and could see action as soon as Sunday.
“There’s a chance, yeah, there’s a chance we put him up,” Reid said. “So we’re just going to play it by ear and see how he does on special teams and see if it all works that way.”