KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs returned to the practice field Tuesday for Day Seven of organized team activities (OTAs) with a different No. 2 quarterback.
Third-year quarterback Aaron Murray worked with the backups, replacing Tyler Bray, who started OTAs as the No. 2 signal caller.
The shuffling, however, isn’t a surprise given the competition for the spot, which was left vacant when Chase Daniel signed a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We knew going into this offseason, this OTAs and everything – (training) camp – it’s going to be an open competition,” Murray said. “So, we just kind of show up and whatever Coach says, we got to go out there and execute, whether it’s with the twos, threes.”
The Chiefs are giving Murray, Bray and rookie Kevin Hogan a hard look in the search to identify Alex Smith’s primary backup.
And the coaching staff has stressed since OTAs began the competition is wide open and could very well go into preseason action before the team settles on a winner.
“Going into this camp, you have to slate guys in certain positions just for reps,” co-offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said on June 1. “The biggest thing is letting them know that it is an open competition. Those guys, that’s how they want it. They’re not going to look at it any other way.”
The Chiefs have the luxury of two backup quarterbacks who have grown in the scheme in recent years.
Bray signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee in 2013, while the Chiefs used a fifth-round pick on Murray out of Georgia in 2014.
But while the 6-1, 207-pound Murray has spent two seasons in the scheme, he points out there is room for improvement in his game.
“I think my biggest area is getting through my reads faster – recognizing the defensive, getting it together and understanding, OK, they’re showing me this,” Murray said. “Now I got to get to my first, second, third, fourth, you know, get down to my check down. So, being able to get down to my reads a little bit faster.”
Meanwhile, wide receiver Rod Streater, who joined the Chiefs on a one-year deal in March, has alternated getting work with the first team and second team throughout OTAs.
Streater said there isn’t a big difference between Bray and Murray, but he also complimented the two backup quarterbacks.
“When you got different receivers getting with different quarterbacks, you got to learn the speed and how they throw the ball,” Streater said. “But it’s really no difference right now; the guys are competing and they’re looking really good.”
With live preseason game action still to come, the dust won’t settle on the backup quarterback battle anytime soon.
Understanding that scenario has allowed Murray to not get caught up in his elevation during OTAs.
“We got a long way to go,” Murray said. “I mean, we got another six practices now, a bunch of preseason stuff.
“It’s going to be a long road and it’s going to be fun. It’s what football is about, it’s about competition against other teams and within your team. That’s what makes everyone better – competing, going out there and having fun. I know I’m looking forward to it, I know Tyler is looking forward to it.”
Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for The Topeka Capital-Journal and ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.