KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs on Friday closed out 10 days of voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) and now shift focus to next week’s minicamp.
“I appreciate the work of the guys,” coach Andy Reid said. “They’ve had a good camp so far. They busted their tail and done everything we’ve asked of them.”
Players return to the field Tuesday through Thursday for a mandatory minicamp on June 17-19 where the Chiefs are allowed to have a walk-through.
Reid said the walk-though portion will be accomplished in the morning with the practice in the afternoon in the same fashion the OTAs were conducted.
In the meantime, the OTAs allowed Reid to have optimism the team is potentially in a good place before reporting to St. Joseph, Mo., for training camp.
“We’re getting better,” the head coach said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re getting there. At least we’re getting ourselves ramped up in a position where when we get to training camp, we’ve got a lot installed and we can just kind of pick up where we leave here and after next week and get going.”
During the post-practice media session, Reid fielded a question whether outside linebacker Justin Houston and cornerback Brandon Flower would be present next week.
“Really it’s all their decisions whether they come or don’t come even though it’s a mandatory camp,” Reid said. “The thing that you’re guaranteed of is that we’re going to coach whoever’s here.”
Obviously, the one player who will no longer be coached by the Chiefs is Flowers based on his release than an hour after Reid’s post-practice presser.
Flowers and Houston elected to not participate in the past three weeks of voluntary OTAs. And with Flowers’ departure, Houston is required to be present next week or face potential fines.
Reid said wide receiver Junior Hemingway, who hasn’t worked this week, has been dealing with strep throat. “We kept him out of the building and away,” Reid said.
Players dealing with hamstring injuries are cornerback Chris Owens, cornerback David Van Dyke and wide receiver Weston Dressler. All three were not on the practice field Friday.
No major change in the statuses of left tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder), who continues to work during individual drills before heading off the field to observe team-related drills.
But there could be good news during next week’s minicamp for tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Kyle Williams, both of whom haven’t participated in OTAs as they recover from respective knee surgeries.
“We think next week we’ll be able to get a little bit out of Kelce and possibly Kyle Williams,” Reid said. “We’ll have to see how all that works.”
Running back Jamaal Charles, cornerback Phillip Gaines and left guard Jeff Allen weren’t present due to personal reasons, Reid said.
The Chiefs are expected to have running back/specialist De’Anthony Thomas back next week. Thomas, who participated in the rookie minicamp, has missed OTAs due to Oregon’s academic quarter system.
• Cornerback Sean Smith, who was cited with an alleged DUI early Monday morning, finished the week running with the second-team unit for fourth straight day. Marcus Cooper took Smith’s place on the right side with the first team, while Ron Parker on the left side.
• Reid was non-committal during his post-practice media session to Smith’s return to the first team: “We’ll see,” Reid said when asked how long Smith would stay with the second team. “The other guys are performing well so we will see.” But with Flowers’ release, it wouldn’t surprise to see Smith return to his usual spot.
• Running back Knile Davis took a majority of first-team snaps during 11-on-11 drills in place of Jamaal Charles. Running back Joe McKnight spelled Davis. During a drill, McKnight came across the field open behind the linebackers and dropped a perfectly-placed pass from Alex Smith. This marked a marked second day McKnight has dropped what appeared to be an easy catch after getting behind the coverage.
• With Weston Dressler (hamstring) out, the punt returners during special team drills were Albert Wilson and Frankie Hammond. During kickoff returner drills, running backs Joe McKnight and Kniles Davis rotated with wide receiver Fred Williams. This entire scenario will evolve during mandatory minicamp with the return of rookie De’Anthony Thomas.
• Strong safety Eric Berry picked off quarterback Alex Smith during the first set of 11-on-11 drills for what would’ve been a pick-6 in live game action.
• Tight end Demetrius Harris, who emerged in 10 days of OTA workouts, closed out with two more athletic catches. Harris has been seeing time with the first-team offense alongside Anthony Fasano when the Chiefs go to a two-tight end set.
• Not to be outdone, Anthony Fasano reeled in a nice reception down the seam during a 9-7 drill, catching a well-placed pass from Alex Smith, who also closed out the OTAs with strong performances.
• The Chiefs continued the first-team shuffling on the offensive line during 11-on-11, rotating rookie Zach Fulton and Rishaw Johnson at right guard, and J’Marcus Webb and Jeff Linkenbach at right tackle. Linkenbach also spent time at left guard in Jeff Allen’s absence with Fulton at right guard.
• Fullback Jordan Campbell, a converted linebacker, turned in two straight days of displaying very soft hands when catching ball out of the backfield.
• Quarterback Chase Daniel, who has struggled at times with accuracy during the OTAs, completed a perfectly placed deep pass to wide receiver Fred Williams on the right sideline. Williams beat cornerback Sean Smith on the play.
• Defensive lineman Vance Walker, who signed a three-year, $13 million free-agent deal in March, saw action during a late segment of 11-on-11 drills with what seemed a mix of first- and second-team units. Walker, who has run mostly with backups throughout OTAs, played defensive tackle with Mike Catapano at the left defensive end spot and Mike DeVito at the right defensive end spot.