KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs have moving parts on special teams at kick returner if running back Knile Davis carries the load Sunday in place of Jamaal Charles (ankle).
Second-year wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., who has filled in at punt returner, will likely be the first man up in Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins.
“Frankie, having him, we can throw him in there,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said Thursday. “Another guy if Jamaal is down, (running back) Joe McKnight might be up; he’s another option for us. He was down in the game because he was inactive, but we have options there.”
Hammond took over as kick returner in Week 2 when the Chiefs moved Davis to offense after Charles suffered an ankle injury. And McKnight currently ranks third all-time in the NFL with a 29.01 yards per return average.
For his part, Hammond said he approaches every week with the mentality to be ready.
“The biggest thing is I want to be available at a moment’s notice if somebody goes down or they need me to do something,” Hammond said. “I don’t want them to feel like it’s a drop off between me or Knile or whoever is back there returning kicks. I just want them to have confidence in me being able to handle the job and getting it done.”
Hammond said the practice repetitions he took leading to the regular season at both returner positions means he won’t require adjusting if he has to do either.
“I’ve been doing it since training camp,” he said, “OTAs, so I’ve been working up towards this. That way, if they put me back there whether it’s kick returner or punt returner I’ll be comfortable enough and it won’t bother me.”
Of course, Hammond also has to be ready to play offense at the Z position, or flanker, given he’s listed second on the depth chart behind starter Dwayne Bowe.
Hammond’s versatility allows the Chiefs coaching staff to use him at various positions on special teams and offense. He has one catch for 22 yards, six punt returns for 49 yards and one return for 37 yards through two games.
“You just have to be ready to roll and be ready to take on whatever comes at you,” Hammond said. “They (coaches) do a great job of preparing us, so whenever the opportunities come you have to take advantage of them.”
BINNS HELPS OUT
Wide receiver Armon Binns, whom the Chiefs signed to the practice squad on Sept. 8, spent the past two seasons with the Dolphins.
Binns landed on injured reserve in 2013 with a torn ACL and MCL, but returned to participate in training camp before Miami waived him on Aug. 26.
The Chiefs may have gained a little insight from Binns on Week 3’s opponent, but the 25-year-old Binns downplayed that angle.
“I’ve helped out a little bit,” Binns said. “Nothing too much. The coaches have a really good gameplan. They seem really on top of things scouting them and everything. Whatever they ask me just about clues how the corners like to play stuff like that I’m always willing to help out.”
Potential strategy aside, Binns hopes to have a bigger long-term impact with a goal to make the 53-man active roster.
The 6-3, 211-pound Binns has game experience after entering the league in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati with the Jacksonville Jaguars before joining the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He joined the Dolphins in December 2012.
He has appeared in 11 career games and totaled 24 catches for 277 yards a touchdown.
The taste of the NFL has him striving for more, and he understands what he needs to do in order to potentially stick with the Chiefs.
“I think I just need to go out here and make plays consistently,” Binns said, “run great routes, put great stuff on film. I get a chance to play against the starting defense every day, so it’s a good opportunity to show them what I can do.”
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE, TAKE II
Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Monday gave rookie kicker Cairo Santos a vote of confidence.
Thursday was special team coordinator Dave Toub’s turn.
“I said this to somebody,” Toub said, “‘If we brought five kickers in from the street right now and he was one of them – he’d still be the best kicker out of that group.’ We still believe in Cairo, he had a real good day at practice yesterday and we are going to kick him again today.”
Santos said Monday he’s aware of fundamental and mechanical issues, and is working through them. The rookie is also thankful for the team’s support.
And Toub emphasized the team’s commitment.
“I think he’s going to be fine,” Toub said. “He just needs confidence. He needs to get some kicks under his belt and get into a groove and I think he’ll be fine.”
NOTES: Running back Jamaal Charles (ankle) put in a limited practice Thursday after missing Wednesday’s practice … Rookie running back/wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas (hamstring) did not practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday … Strong safety Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice, while outside linebacker Tamba Hali (ankle/knee) was limited.