KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Chiefs tight ends Anthony Fasano (ankle) and Travis Kelce (knee) continue to miss practice with injuries, but the NFL is forever about the old cliché, “Next man up.”
Enter Kevin Brock and Sean McGrath, who started in place of Fasano during Week Three’s win against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“McGrath and Brock did a nice job last week filling in for Anthony,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said on Thursday. “It’s the next guy steps up mentality.”
While Brock has yet to record a catch, McGrath is currently tied with wide receiver Dexter McCluster for fourth on the team with six receptions. McGrath has 62 yards receiving on the six catches, averaging 10.3 yards per catch.
How McGrath has stepped in is impressive when considering he only joined the Chiefs on Sept. 1 after being claimed off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.
As for Brock, the Chiefs brought him back on Sept. 16 after waiving him on Sept. 1.
“Kevin was with us in training camp, obviously, so he’s very familiar with our offense,” Pederson said. “But McGrath coming in and doing what he’s done, my hat’s off to him.”
For his part, McGrath said he prepares every week with the mentality of being ready for game day in the event he gets the call.
Additionally, McGrath said when on the field, he runs his assigned route as if he’s the primary receiver on any given play.
“I’m expecting the ball every play,” he said. “I run routes to get open and if I’m open, he’s going to throw it to me. Alex (Smith) does a great job of doing that.”
Still, McGrath likely recognizes he’s not the No. 1 receiving option in the Chiefs passing attack.
But he knows what to do when the opportunity presents itself.
“I don’t come in with certain set of expectations I need to catch X amount of balls,” McGrath said. “I’m going to catch the ball when it’s thrown to me. That’s my objective.”
Enjoying the job
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said on Monday he’s having the most fun he’s ever had on defense playing in defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme.
On Thursday, third-year defensive lineman Allen Bailey agreed.
“Everybody has bought in, everybody is giving their all into the system,” Bailey said. “We’ve had athletes here over the past couple of years. It’s a bond already there. The defense allows us to attack more and have fun.”
So what is it about Sutton’s defense that makes it enjoyable?
Veteran defensive lineman Mike DeVito, who signed a free-agent deal with the Chiefs during the offseason, played for Sutton while with the New York Jets.
DeVito said Sutton’s system allows players to utilize their talents and places them in position to succeed.
“It’s exciting across the board, from the line, the linebackers to the defensive backs, everybody on defense has different opportunities to step up and make plays,” DeVito said. “It’s fast, physical and there’s a philosophy behind it that guys really buy into.”
Sutton’s personality and coaching IQ apparently have also played a role in how the Chiefs defenders have gone all-in.
“He’s one of the smartest football coaches around,” DeVito said. “He knows the game inside and out.”
“He’s a funny guy,” Bailey said. “He enjoys coaching and you can see that.”
Keeping the faith
The knock on rookie running back/returner Knile Davis is his propensity to put the ball on the ground, which was magnified during Week Two’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys.
But if Davis has a believer, it’s certainly with a coaching staff member with influence.
“I still feel comfortable with him,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “He is very dangerous after the catch. We can’t be deterred because he put one on the ground. That would have been huge if we had lost that ball, but we still have a lot of confidence in him.”
Toub pointed out Davis’ big-play ability and said all Davis needed was experience to reach his potential.
“This guy, he is going to be a really good returner for us,” Toub said. “We just have to get him in there in the right spots.”
Notes: Guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight ends Anthony Fasano (ankle) and Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice on Thursday … Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) returned to practice in a limited fashion, according to the team’s injury report … Flowers and Lewis were observed during Thursday’s portion of afternoon practice open to media and didn’t appear to have limitations during drills … Left tackle Branden Albert (shoulder) and defensive lineman Mike DeVito (neck) are listed as limited for a second straight day … Fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (elbow) put in a full practice.