ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The vacant right guard position is one of many competitions in Chiefs training camp.
The contest is headlined by Rishaw Johnson and rookie Zach Fulton, one of two 2014 sixth-round picks.
Both players split repetitions with the first-team offense in minicamp, and the rotation continues three days into training camp.
Johnson, who enters his second season with the Chiefs, measures 6-3, 313 pounds, while Fulton tips the scale at 6-5, 316 pounds.
So who has the early upper hand?
“Rishaw obviously has a little bit more (familiarity),” coach Andy Reid said Saturday. “Rishaw really showed well down in San Diego in that game and so he is the one in that first starting position now, and then they are rotating from there.”
Fulton pointed out his mindset on rookie report day.
“Mindset is just being consistent,” he said on July 20. “That’s my whole key. Whoever’s the most consistent probably will end up being that guy.”
There’s still time for this battle to fully develop, and the team’s first depth chart of the summer won’t be released until shortly before the first preseason game.
And if anything, Reid is willing to give both players an equal shot.
“I like both of them,” he said. “We’ll see how it works out.”
Toss in morning temperatures in the 80s, humidity, highly-charged adrenaline, players in full pads for the first time in training camp and tempers could flare.
That’s exactly what happened during 11-on-11 drills.
In one corner was cornerback Chris Owens, who measures 5-9, 180 pounds. In the other corner was center Rodney Hudson, who measures 6-2, 299 pounds.
The fracas started after a play was dead. Owens and Hudson appeared to shove, and then grab a hold of each other’s jerseys.
But it quickly broke up leading to no harm, no foul.
“A little skirmish,” Reid said, “that happens. It’s hot, humid. They’re big guys. Boom. Get back in the huddle, let’s go. Don’t get a penalty.”
Cornerbacks Ron Parker and Marcus Cooper continue to draw first-team repetitions, while Sean Smith, who started in 2013, runs with the second-team unit.
What does it all mean?
Click here for more on the competition, via a story for The Associated Press.
When the owner talks
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt took a few minutes to meet with reporters following Saturday’s practice and touched on a variety of subjects.
On Justin Houston’s contract negotiations:
“Justin Houston’s a great player and we’re glad to have him part of the Kansas City Chiefs, we’ll get to that at the right time. He does have one year left on his contract, like Alex Smith does. Both of those guys are important to the organization. We would anticipate that that process will follow due course here over the next six months or so.”
On the current negotiations with St. Joseph to keep Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University:
“I wouldn’t say at this point that we are leaning any way. We’ve enjoyed our time in St. Joe. The University has done a great job for us. Coach Reid really likes the setup we have here. Our deal with the University can potentially extend another five years on a year-to-year basis. It’s a decision that we will make after training camp. We will sit down as an organization, visit with the University and make a decision by the end of the year.”
On the proposal to bring the U.S. Soccer training facility to Kansas City:
“Well, I think that’s great. Kudos to the ownership group at Sporting for everything that they’ve done with the team here, and they’ve done a great job in growing the fan base and growing the sport here in Kansas City, and I think it would be a great addition to bring the training center here.”
On Jamaal Charles’ two-year contract extension:
“Well, clearly, Jamaal Charles is a special player; one of the greatest players already in his young career, in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs. We had two years left on his existing deal – the structure of the contract gave us the opportunity to approach him and get an extension. It was good for both parties, and naturally, he was looking for an increase in compensation, which, we felt, based on his production, was warranted. We wanted to tie him down for another couple of years as a Kansas City Chief and hopefully he plays through the majority of his career as a Chief.”