Pre-training camp overview of the Chiefs offense

Jul 28, 2013; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) throws a pass during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2013; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) throws a pass during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Rookies and quarterbacks report to St. Joseph, Mo., on Sunday, July 20 followed by the veterans on Wednesday, July 23.

The Chiefs will conduct three morning practices open to the media on July 21-23 before having the first practice open to the public on July 24.

And once the entire team is together, training camp will transform into a battlefield for numerous positions with some players returning from 2013 competing for a job.

Barring changes, the team currently sits at the maximum allowed of 90 players on the offseason roster, which breaks down to 46 on offense and 44 on defense.

An overview of defense will follow in the coming days, but here’s how the positions shape out on offense.

Quarterback (4) Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray

The battle front:  With Smith entrenched as the starter, the primary competition focuses on the backup spots. Daniel should be the favorite as the No. 2, while Bray and Murray, the team’s 2014 fifth-round draft pick, settle matters at the No. 3 spot.

Injury updates: Murray, who underwent ACL surgery on Nov. 25, 2013, practiced without limitations during rookie minicamp, organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

The skinny: Short of placing a quarterback on injured reserve, seeing the Chiefs with four quarterbacks could prove a stretch. The Chiefs kept three quarterbacks following final rosters cuts in late August 2013.

Still, money could play a factor between Daniel and Bray.

Daniel is due $2.35 million in 2014 and $3.75 million in 2015, according to the NFLPA database. Bray, who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013, is due $495,000 in 2014 and $585,000 in 2015, according to the NFLPA database.

Running back (6) Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray, Joe McKnight, De’Anthony Thomas, Charcandrick West

The battle front: Charles and Davis are locks, but it remains unclear how the Chiefs ultimately list Thomas, who can also fill in at wide receiver.

In the event Thomas changes positions, the primary competition is between Gray, McKnight and West at the No. 3 spot, which Gray held down in 2013. A third running back is typically expected to contribute on special teams. 

Injury updates: Davis, who suffered a sprained knee and broken fibula in the playoffs, practiced without limitations during OTAs and minicamp. McKnight missed the final day of minicamp with a swollen knee.

The skinny: The Chiefs started and finished the 2013 season with three running backs on the roster (Charles, Davis and Gray).

Fullback (3) James Baker, Jordan Campbell, Anthony Sherman

The battle front: Sherman is the clear starter.

Injury updates: None.

The skinny: Sherman was the lone fullback on the active 53-man roster in 2013, but the Chiefs initially had Toben Opurum on the practice squad before the Houston Texans signed Opurum. The Chiefs finished the regular season with Eric Kettani on the practice squad. Baker and Campbell will likely vie for that position.

Wide receiver (13) Deon Anthony, Donnie Avery, Dwayne Bowe, Weston Dressler, Frankie Hammond, Mark Harrison, Junior Hemingway, Jerrell Jackson, A.J. Jenkins, Darryl Surgent, Fred Williams, Kyle Williams, Albert Wilson,

The battle front: Bowe and Avery are virtual locks to return as starters from the 2013 roster. Jenkins served as Avery’s primary backup in 2013, but could push Avery in training camp.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have a host of players to choose from to fill the slot position vacanted by Dexter McCluster, who signed a free-agent deal with the Tennessee Titans in March.

The Chiefs could eventually move rookie De’Anthony Thomas from running back to wide receiver, and that will affect numerous players vying for a roster spot. Thomas, who missed OTAs due to Oregon’s quarter system, lined up during minicamp at numerous positions, including tailback and slot.

Hemingway mostly ran with the first-team offense at the slot position during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp. Dressler, Hammond and Wilson also saw action at the slot.

The fourth and fifth wide receivers are often called upon to contribute on special teams.

Injury updates: Hemingway missed the final week of OTAs with an illness, but returned for minicamp;  Dressler missed the final day of OTAs and first day of minicamp with a hamstring injury; Jenkins dealt with a hamstring injury early in OTAs, but returned to the field for the final week of OTAs and participated in minicamp; Kyle Williams did not participate in OTAs as he recovered from a November 2013 ACL surgery, but returned to the field and participated in individual position drills during minicamp.

The skinny: The Chiefs started the 2013 regular season with six wide receivers on the active roster (Bowe, Avery, Jenkins, Hemmingway, McCluster and Chad Hall) and one on the practice squad (Hammond).

The team finished the regular season with five on the active roster (Bowe, Avery, Jenkins, Hammond and McCluster) and three on the practice squad (Hammond, Jackson and Rashad Ross).

Tight end (5) Anthony Fasano, Richard Gordon, Demetrius Harris, Travis Kelce, Sean McGrath

The battle front: The second season in Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s version of the West Coast offense will be important for a position ravaged by injuries in 2013.

Fasano, who missed six games in 2013 with an ankle injury and a concussion, was the starter last season and appears 100 percent healthy. The battle for the final two active roster spots will boil down between Kelce, Harris, McGrath and Gordon. 

Injury updates: McGrath left the practice field with a knee injury on the second day of minicamp, but returned the next day. Kelce (knee) did not participate in OTAs, but returned to the field for minicamp in a limited fashion. While Kelce ran and caught passes during the individual drill portions of minicamp, he did not participate in team-related drills. Kelce is expected to be ready for camp barring a setback.

The skinny: The Chiefs kept three tight ends on the active roster in 2013, starting off with Fasano, Kelce and McGrath before finishing with Fasano, McGrath and Gordon.

The Chiefs placed Kelce on injured reserve in early October following microfracture knee surgery. Harris spent 14 weeks on the practice squad before landing on injured reserve to close out the season.

Given how Harris looked throughout OTAs and minicamp, it’s difficult to see a scenario where the Chiefs can stash Harris on the practice squad for a second straight season, especially if he performs in training camp.

Offensive line (15) Jeff Allen, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton, Ben Gottschalk, Ricky Henry, Otis Hudson, Rodney Hudson, Rishaw Johnson, Eric Kush, Jeff Linkenbach, Ryan McKee, Donald Stephenson, Rokevious Watkins, J’Marcus Webb

The battle front: With Branden Albert now with the Miami Dolphins, Fisher slides from right tackle to left tackle and Stephenson anchors the right tackle spot. The projected starters are Fisher, Allen at left guard, Rodney Hudson at center and Stephenson.

Right guard, left vacant by the free-agent departures of Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asomoah, and swing tackle will produce the primary competition. The Chiefs used two sixth-round draft picks on Fulton and Duvernay-Tardif during May’s NFL Draft.

Breaking it down by position:

• The tackles are Fisher, Stephenson, Linkenbach, Webb and McKee. With Fisher limited during OTAs and minicamp, Stephenson slid to left tackle. Linkenbach and Webb rotated at right tackle during team-related drills.

• The guards are Allen, Otis Hudson, Fulton, Henry, Johnson, Watkins and *Duvernay-Tardif. Fulton and Watkins rotated at right guard with the first-team offense during 11-on-11 drills in minicamp.

*The Chiefs drafted Duvernay-Tardif as an offensive tackle, but he mostly lined up as a backup left guard during team drills throughout OTAs and minicamp with the exception of the first day of rookie minicamp.

• The centers are Rodney Hudson, Kush and Gottschalk. Kush backed up Hudson in 2013.

Injury updates: Stephenson suffered a calf injury on the second day of minicamp and wasn’t present on the practice field the final day. Fisher (shoulder) was limited to individual drills during OTAs and minicamp, but is expected to be ready for training camp.

The skinny: The Chiefs started the 2013 season with eight offensive linemen on the active roster (Albert, Allen, Asamoah, Fisher, Rodney Hudson, Kush, Schwartz and Stephenson) and three on the practice squad (Tommie Draheim, Matt Reynolds and Watkins). The team finished with 10 on the active roster (the original eight plus Watkins and Johnson) and Chandler Burden on the practice squad.

Up next: The defense