ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith ran with the second-team defense Monday at training camp, marking the second straight day he worked with the backups.
Rookie cornerback Marcus Peters took repetitions at left cornerback with the first team and second-year pro Phillip Gaines moved into Smith’s spot on the right side.
The rotation shouldn’t come as a surprise when considering Smith will serve a three-game suspension to start the season, and the Chiefs must prepare.
Smith took running with the second team in stride and reveled in observing the younger cornerbacks receive valuable repetitions with the starting unit.
“It’s fun,” Smith said. “As much as I would love to be out there with my guys, just seeing the younger guys take that next step.
“I had a chance to do it a little bit with Phillip Gaines last year – a rookie who came in and started off a little shaky. But you’re just coaching him up, you see him get better and better every week. You’re proud of that guy, it’s like a little brother out there.”
The Chiefs kept Peters on the outside, moved Gaines to the inside and inserted Jamell Fleming on the right side in the nickel package.
Rookie cornerback Steven Nelson also saw a rotation with the first-team defense at the nickel cornerback position, and Smith had nothing but praise for the rookies.
“For these two young guys coming in Marcus and Steve,” Smith said, “guys are willing to learn and they’re so hungry to get out there. I’m like, ‘You don’t have a choice; you have to get out there now.’ They’re stepping up to the challenge.”
ROTATIONS ON OL
Speaking of rotations, the Chiefs shuffled the deck after running with the same starting offensive line in the first six full-team training camp practice.
The new look features Eric Fisher at left tackle, Ben Grubbs at left guard, rookie Mitch Morse at center, Zach Fulton at right guard and Jeff Allen at right tackle.
Morse replaces Eric Kush, Fulton takes Allen’s spot with Allen moving outside in place of Donald Stephenson.
Coach Andy Reid, however, wasn’t committing to the current five as his starting unit, and took a familiar stance heard throughout organized team activities and mandatory minicamp.
“We’ll see,” Reid said. “We’re looking for combinations. This group seems to be working well together and we’re happy with it so far. Again, we’ll just see, we’re going to try to play the five best guys.”
Kush and Stephenson have run with the second-team offense, with Stephenson taking snaps at left tackle.
The rotations haven’t been limited to the first team.
Tackle Derek Sherrod previously working with the second team at right tackle and Jarrod Pughsley manned left tackle. Sherrod moved to the third team, with Pughlsey sliding to right tackle in place of Sherrod.
Guard Paul Fanaika moved from the third team to Fulton’s spot with the second team.
FAMILY FUED SETTLED
To say the Chiefs had a physical and spirited practice on Sunday would be an understatement.
The hits were hard and there were three skirmishes between wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and cornerback Marcus Cooper, wide receiver Albert Wilson and cornerback Steven Nelson, and running back Charcandrick West and cornerback Jamell Fleming.
The Chiefs practiced in shorts and helmet Monday, so the action wasn’t as heavy compared to the day before.
And there are also no hard feelings in the locker room.
“There is always great competition, but as soon as we get in the locker room we laugh about it,” cornerback Phillip Gaines said. “We are brothers – brothers always fight. You’re trying to really reach a hard goal, you’re going to bring out the best in everybody and sometimes it gets a little physical. At the end of the day, we are all brothers, so it’s all good.”
• The action on the field was light, as the defense didn’t go full bore, which obviously favors the offense. But it was encouraging to see rookie wide receiver Chris Conley return from a knee injury and run at full speed. Conley put in his first work of training camp since July 29.
• Outside linebacker Frank Zombo filled in for Dee Ford, who missed a second straight practice with a concussion.
• Second-year running back Charcandrick West saw some snaps with the first-team offense.
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.