Takeaways from first week of Chiefs OTAs

May 28, 2015; Kansas City, MO; General view of the Chiefs practice field as players warm-up before practice on Day Three of OTAs. Credit: Teope

May 28, 2015; Kansas City, MO; General view of the Chiefs practice field as players warm-up before practice on Day Three of OTAs. Credit: Teope

The Kansas City Chiefs concluded the third day of practice Thursday from the first set of organized team activities (OTAs), which began Tuesday.

Up next, the second set of OTAs on June 2-4 before the Chiefs close out the final four days of 10 allowed OTA workouts on June 9-12.

Here are takeaways from the first week of OTAs:

CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING

Virtually everybody loves football, and adrenaline builds with football-related tweets or news items throughout the offseason months.

Excitement for the upcoming season is more than fine, but the biggest areas to always consider every offseason are the timeframe and setting.

First, it’s May.

Second, these are offseason workouts, meaning there is zero hitting allowed and players are in shorts and helmets before training camp in late July.

There will be competition, of course, and arguably the positions easy to evaluate at this stage are defensive backs and wide receivers because the eyes will tell if a player is fast, making fluid movements or can catch a football.

But for every great reception a wide receiver makes down the field to beat a defender, keep in mind that the cornerback doesn’t have a full toolbox at his disposal.

The cornerback isn’t allowed to jam the receiver off the line of scrimmage when considering the no-contact rule and he has to pull up from delivering a hit to potentially dislodge the football.

Bottom line during OTAs: Temper enthusiasm when viewing photos and videos.

While they offer insight on a player’s progress, save the true excitement for when pads come on during training camp and contact is allowed.

SHUFFLING OFFENSIVE LINE

The Chiefs opened OTAs rotating various players on the offensive line with the first-, second- and third-team units.

And this is by design, according to coach Andy Reid.

“We’re kind of playing everybody in all different spots, so we don’t even care,” Reid said after the Day One practice. “Tomorrow will probably be different. We’re going to find the five best guys, that’s what we’re trying to get to.”

The first-team offensive line during the first practice included Eric Fisher at left tackle, Ben Grubbs at left guard, Eric Kush at center, Jeff Allen at right guard and Donald Stephenson at right tackle.

Zach Fulton, who started all 16 games at right guard in 2014, saw repetitions at center with the second team.

The Chiefs closed out the third OTA practice with Stephenson at left tackle and Fisher taking snaps with the second team.

Of course, that was an eye opener at first glance.

But once again, it is May.

And Reid complimented Fisher following the third OTA practice, while offering a cautionary statement to not read too much into anything.

“That’s the only way you can get Donald some reps there,” Reid said. “We want to make sure we’ve got everybody covered.”

Meanwhile, this year marks the second straight offseason the Chiefs have rotated personnel on the offensive line during OTAs.

The Chiefs began the 2014 OTAs with Stephenson at left tackle while Fisher recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, Allen at left guard, Rodney Hudson at center, Rishaw Johnson at right guard and J’Marcus Webb at right tackle.

That grouping obviously changed during the mandatory three-day minicamp once Fulton emerged, and then in training camp when Fisher returned.

While OTAs offer a view on who is potentially coming on, projecting OTA depth charts, especially at offensive line, are a crapshoot outside of clear established starters.

It is, however, noteworthy whenever a player works with a certain unit as a subject to file away and monitor going forward.

Still, the two positions where it is extremely difficult to properly evaluate performance without pads are offensive line and defensive line.

BY THE NUMBERS

• The Chiefs entered OTAs with a full 90-man roster consisting of four quarterbacks, eight running backs, 12 wide receivers, six tight ends, 15 offensive linemen, 11 defensive linemen, 13 linebackers, 17 defensive backs and four specialists.

• The Chiefs have three former draft picks from the Green Bay Packers. Offensive tackle Derek Sherrod entered the league as a first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, defensive lineman Jerel Worthy is a former second-round pick of the 2012 draft and tight end Ryan Taylor is a former seventh-round pick of the 2011 draft. The Chiefs also have linebackers Frank Zombo and Dezman Moses, both of whom entered the league as undrafted free agents with the Packers. The obvious connection is general manager John Dorsey, who served as the Packers director of college scouting from 2000-11 and director of football operations in 2012 before joining the Chiefs in 2013.

• Seven players return from spending part or all of 2014 on injured reserve: Linebacker Derrick Johnson (Achilles), defensive end Mike DeVito (Achilles), offensive lineman Jeff Allen (right elbow/biceps), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness/concussion), defensive back Sanders Commings (fibula/high ankle sprain), running back Cyrus Gray (knee) and linebacker Dezman Moses (elbow). Of the group, Gray is the only player to not participate in practice. Gray has warmed up with the team, but observes practice without his helmet.

QUOTABLE

Guard Ben Grubbs on hanging out with left tackle Eric Fisher:

“I’ve been over to Fish’s house once and he had his boxer jump all over me. He really didn’t correct it, so I don’t know if I’m coming back over there.”

Guard Zach Fulton, who changed his diet during the offseason, on his biggest weakness:

“I usually fall for cheeseburgers … There are always cheat days.”

Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson on his and defensive end Mike DeVito’s reaction to returning to the practice field for the first time since both suffered season-ending Achilles injuries in 2014:

“Every time we walk by each other, we’re giving each other high fives, man. It’s been a long road for us. We’ve been talking about this day since we got hurt.”

Outside linebacker Dee Ford joking about meeting with reporters after Day Two’s practice:

“I love you all. I just couldn’t wait to see you all, talk to you all.”

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on what he looks forward to working on during OTAs:

“I think just the chemistry between Alex (Smith) and I. When you’re talking about me and him, I think that’s the No. 1 thing.”

Coach Andy Reid on kicker Cairo Santos, who is listed at 5-8, 160 pounds, bulking up during the offseason:

“He’s tightened up his sleeves and he’s got the guns hanging out.”

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Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter:

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