Observations from first Chiefs practice back in Kansas City

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The Kansas City Chiefs hit the field for the first preseason practice at the team's facility in Kansas City, Mo. Aug. 23, 2016 (Photo: Matt Derrick, ChiefsDigest.com)

The Kansas City Chiefs hit the field for the first preseason practice at the team’s facility in Kansas City, Mo. Aug. 23, 2016 (Photo: Matt Derrick, ChiefsDigest.com)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs arrived home from training camp and heralded the return of Tamba Hali to practice along with the addition of Jamaal Charles to full team drills at practice Tuesday afternoon.

The return of Hali and Charles puts the Chiefs halfway to returning their four missing Pro Bowlers to the practice field. Linebacker Justin Houston remains on the physically unable to perform list while safety Eric Berry has yet to report to camp.

Tuesday afternoon’s practice marked the first session open to the media at the team’s training facility in Kansas City since closing training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., and traveling to Los Angeles for Saturday’s preseason game against the Rams.

Here’s a run down of observations from Tuesdays’ practice.

TYLER BRAY RETURNS
Quarterback Tyler Bray hit the practice field again, resuming his role behind Nick Foles in the rotation. Bray missed practice and the game against the Rams last week after suffering a neck injury against Seattle Aug. 13.

Running back Charcandrick West also returned to the practice field for the first time since injury an elbow against the Seahawks. Cornerback Philip Gaines also practiced but did not play against the Rams Saturday.

Fullback Trey Millard (knee) and Rakeem Nunez-Roches did not practice. Also absent was Houston (knee), Josh Mauga (groin) and Dezman Moses (glute).

SEVEN OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Head coach Andy Reid said he presumes the offensive line of Eric Fisher, Parker Ehinger, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mitchell Schwartz to be the starting group Sept. 11 against San Diego. But anything can happen in the next two weeks.

“I think they’re getting better as they go,” Reid said. “I think we’ve got seven or eight guys that I feel pretty comfortable with that could go in there and play. Definitely seven that I feel are starting caliber that I’ve got full confidence could play and start for us. Whatever goes there goes, but right now that’s the starting group that you’re seeing.”

In addition to the five starters from the first two preseason games, Reid also includes Zach Fulton and Jah Reid in that group. While Fisher and Schwartz seem locked in at tackle, Fulton has spelled rookie Parker Ehinger and could push for playing time.

REGULAR SEASON WEEK
The return to Kansas City means Reid wants his team resuming a regular season type schedule. That mindset extends to this weekend’s game at the Chicago Bears.

“You’re going to give the ones the same amount that they had and possibly into the third quarter,” Reid said. “That’s kind of the way people do it around the league and that’s how we do it here.”

Once the starters are gone, Reid’s focus shifts to evaluation.

“Does that mean everybody is going to play? No,” Reid said. “Not everybody is going to play, but we’ll take a look at the guys that we need to take a look at feel like we either need extra work or we’re trying to evaluate a little bit better.”

INSIDE LINEBACKER BATTLE
The injury to Josh Mauga has intensified the position battle between Justin March and Ramik Wilson at inside linebacker alongside Derrick Johnson. Mauga is the incumbent, but March and Wilson has both run with the first team defense in the preseason.

Reid says both are doing well but need more opportunities.

“They’re still learning on the job, so there are some snaps they would like to have back, but there are some pretty good snaps there,” Reid said. “It’s good to have young guys that you feel have a chance to play and contribute.”

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Matt Derrick is the associate editor for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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