Kansas City Chiefs: 6 Takeaways from May 22 OTAs
The Kansas City Chiefs' May 22 edition of the team's first OTAs offered a plethora of news stemming from two fronts: quarterbacks and defense.
Under center, passers continued to struggle handling snaps from one particular rookie—a theme which has developed throughout OTAs.
But a tandem of aerial slingers did manage to catch the attention of onlookers.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs defense maintained its oppressive bombardment under new coordinator Bob Sutton while adding some depth to the secondary.
Alex Smith Compliments Dexter-ity
Quarterback Alex Smith applauded the coaching staff for the sheer volume of diversity it has uploaded into the offense.
Smith was asked whether any player within the offense has left an impression him.
The starter lauded the offense's collective effort but singled out Dexter McCluster (via the Kansas City Star):
It’s easy to talk about in the meeting room to say let’s put (a) receiver in and have him run routes and be natural at it and then put him back in the backfield to do a multitude of things...It’s another thing to see it live. He’s a special guy, and he’s really taken it on.
Obviously, head coach Andy Reid is seeking to utilize McCluster's dynamic skill set to its fullest potential. If No. 22 remains healthy, he should enjoy a breakout season in 2013.
Defensive Players Rave About New Scheme
Will coordinator Bob Sutton be deemed the savior of Kansas City's defense?
If you ask Chiefs defenders, their answers suggest a resounding "yes."
Second-year nose tackle Dontari Poe claimed that Sutton's scheme is more rousing for defensive linemen, as it allows them to act on their aggressiveness rather than passively absorb blocks.
Coming out of Memphis, skeptics never questioned Poe's physical tools. The criticism directed toward last year's first-round pick had to do with his ability to read and react; Sutton's simpler schemes masks Poe's deficiencies.
Pro Bowler Derrick Johnson echoed Poe's sentiments but also admitted that the no-contact drills can be torturous, saying (via Sports Radio 810 WHB), "Offensive guys prance around, make plays and catch balls. And you look at them like, 'Man, I could've tore you up right there.'"
Johnson didn't record an interception in 2012—the first time since 2006. Although he commended Alex Smith's leadership and command of the offense, Johnson also returned an interception to the house at practice.
Chase Daniel Raises Eyebrows
Chase Daniel stands in an odd position. If fans were asked which quarterback would captain the offense three years from now, Daniel might grasp the short end of the stick between he, Alex Smith and Tyler Bray.
Daniel boasts a stronger arm than Smith and is infinitely more athletic than Bray, but he stands at an ordinary 6'0" (which is likely exaggerated): four inches shorter than Smith and six inches below Bray.
However, thus far, Daniel has made a fan out of Sports Radio 810's Nate Bukaty, who spoke highly of the passer's ability to read coverages and fling it downfield with a flick of the wrist.
If Kansas City's integration of the pistol sidelines Smith, fans can rest assured that the offense won't relapse into the valleys of 2012's horror show.
Eric Kush Continues to Struggle
Eric Kush brings a dose of flexibility to the offensive line; he also brings fumbling issues.
Since arriving in Kansas City, Kush has often served as the catalyst for multiple mishandled snaps.
The fifth-round rookie has yet to resolve the issue:
C Eric Kush, a 6th rd pick, continues to have problems making snaps. He severely misfired a shotgun snap to Chase Daniel
— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) May 22, 2013
While Kush isn't expected to see an abundance of playing time in 2013, he nonetheless insert doubts into the minds of the coaching staff. Given Rodney Hudson's short-lived 2012 campaign, the reserve center's importance won't be glossed over by Andy Reid.
Kush filled every offensive line role—center, guard and tackle—throughout his collegiate career, which likely cements his spot on the 53-man roster. However, if the rookie doesn't rectify his problematic snapping, Reid may soon recruit additional competition at center.
Bray Jumps Ahead of Stanzi
The Kansas City Star's Adam Teicher noted that, for the first time, undrafted rookie Tyler Bray worked with the third team, ahead of Ricky Stanzi.
Attempting to read between the lines would only lead to speculation.
The role reversal might only serve as a temporary barometer to gauge Bray's progress. Conversely, it could also reflect Reid's outlook on the heated third-string battle.
Given their physical potential, Bray should eventually secure a slot on the final roster. But even if it's not in Kansas City, Stanzi will earn an opportunity to prove his worth in the future.
Chiefs Enlist Safety Help
In an effort to bolster its safety rotation, Kansas City signed free agent Quintin Demps.
The strong safety has tallied three interceptions and one forced fumble in his five seasons in the league.
If Demps solidifies a place on the roster, it will be as a backup.
The signing shouldn't affect the Chiefs' tightly contested free safety battle between Kendrick Lewis, Husain Abdullah and Sanders Commings.
However, it may spell trouble for local favorites Tysyn Hartman and Bradley McDougald.
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