Imaged edited by Brett Gering
At this stage, Reid is basically a chief architect (puns!) grasping a rough sketch of his blueprint for success. Now, he's scouring for 53 building blocks.
People tend to draw annual parallels between training camp and fitting pieces to a puzzle. In reality, it's more like waking up in a junkyard and assembling the most efficient vehicle possible for a 17-week road trip.
Over the course of the past week, camp has accentuated the lauded strengths and/or glaring voids within a select circle of players.
At the 2012 combine, Dontari Poe looked like someone who could smash through double-teams like the Kool-Aid Man—minus the creepy smile—and steamroll oncoming traffic.
Unfortunately, his rookie season made the combine look like an athletic facade.
There has been reason for optimism throughout camp, though.
As The Kansas City Star's Randy Covitz details, Poe has shed roughly 15 pounds by abstaining from barbecue. (No worries: At 335 pounds, he can still break a camel's back without a straw.)
The run-clogger assured local media that, while his calorie intake plummeted, his strength hasn't budged.
After witnessing Poe's diversity in a recent practice, scouting guru Mike Mayock added, "It wasn’t like he’s a two-down plugger who can’t be in on third down. This is a 340-pound dancing bear, and he can push the pocket inside.”
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I'm inserting Madden and assigning you crossing routes against the '85 Bears.
If you gave The Riddler Jon Baldwin's measurables and then handed over his stat sheet, he would pop a pair of aspirin and log in to Monster.com.
Thus far, the third-year wideout's career has been a convoluted enigma. He's a physically imposing target whose body fat, as Kansas.com reports, registers in the single digits. He occasionally flashes signs of brilliance with catches that force DVRs to rewind in loops.
Then, Dave Skretta tweets, "Jon Baldwin drops another pass defended by air. Had great camp, lousy season last year. Lousy camp, great season this year?"
[Loosens the aspirin cap.]
By midseason, if No. 83 continues to reel in jaw-dropping catches in such effortlessly smooth fashion, the south side of Arrowhead will chant "Rico!" before the north drunkenly blurts "Suave!" following every reception. (Don't knock it 'til you try it.)
Rico Richardson is an undrafted rookie hailing from Jackson State. If that name rings a bell, it's because Jon Baldwin Sr., otherwise known as Sylvester Morris, attended the same university.
On (collegiate) tape, two things stand out about Richardson: His route-running needs to be crisper, but he's a bona fide speedster capable of highlight-worthy catches.
It's safe to say that he caught the eye of local media.
Cyrus Gray's status is due to his lack of availability; not capabilities.
Coming out of Texas A&M, Gray was an extremely well-rounded tailback: He showed soft hands, sturdy blocking, surprising power and commendable speed (4.40 40 time).
His game was tailored for that of a third-down option and dependable insurance policy. Unfortunately, the only insurance he continues to provide comes via health card.
Gray averaged 6.3 yards per carry during his rookie season, but that average stemmed from just seven attempts for 44 yards. If he had veered clear of the injury report, it's plausible that he could have been competing for second-string duties by now (given Knile Davis' own set of flaws).
History seems doomed to repeat itself, though.
Winston Churchill famously declared, "If you're going through hell, keep going."
If Eric Fisher makes it to Week 1, he will have succeeded in exactly that.
While Fisher shows all the makings of a perennial Pro Bowler, he normally finds himself lining up across from a rapidly budding linebacker who's creeping up on superstar status.
Justin Houston belongs to a defense that includes the likes of Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry. Although Johnson and Flowers played like top-five players at their respective positions last season, Houston was inarguably the most productive.
Everybody recalls the 10 sacks in his 2012 stat line (which is no small feat, considering how often he drifted out into coverage).
But furthermore, Houston's 63 combined tackles ranked second amongst 3-4 outside linebackers.
And despite being targeted more (25 total attempts) than any of those aforementioned linebackers, he only allowed 68 percent of the passes to reach their intended destination—a lower percentage than 16 cornerbacks. Obviously, that's an apples-to-oranges comparison, but tight ends tend to give edge-rushers third-degree burns on passing downs.
Houston is a former third-round rookie who earned a Pro Bowl nod by the end of his second season. Yet, he has still managed to raise the bar of expectations throughout camp.
Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
In college, Eric Kush proved that he could effectively play every position on the offensive line. He's also deceptively athletic and stunningly explosive after the snap.
But that's the problem: the snap.
Trying to contribute as a center who can't (consistently) hike the football is like Gollum jotting "great personality" on his modeling resume.
Struggles are expected for rookie linemen, especially sixth-rounders. However, botching the core fundamental of a position is infinitely more alarming.
According to Nick Jacobs, the habit which haunted Kush throughout OTAs has bled into training camp as well.
From the outside looking in, Travis Kelce seems to reflect a lot of the same qualities that Andy Reid himself projects.
Off the field, Kelce appears to have a fairly jovial outlook—when the first whistle blows, work divorces play.
He's a meticulous route-runner (by tight end standards) who, as The Kansas City Star notes, periodically snags the improbable catch. Furthermore, his blocking all but tattoos shoulder pad imprints onto victims' chests.
Between Kelce, Anthony Fasano, Tony Moeaki and Demetrius Harris, the Chiefs' tight end corps is rooted in a wealth of talent. But within the past week, the lion's share of headlines have been generated by the Cincinnati rookie.
In a lot of ways, Knile Davis is the backfield equivalent of Jon Baldwin (last Baldwin reference—promise): Physically, he looks like an athletic Voltron comprised of P90X actors. But when his name is called upon, the play often ends with the crowd looking like a disgruntled bobblehead collection.
Davis is ridiculously talented. At this point in his adolescent career, his skills are indicative of an impoverished man's Darren McFadden. If you etch a 4.35 40 and pump 31 225-pound reps, consider my curiosity piqued.
That tag team of traits reveals why Andy Reid and Co. are so dead set on utilizing Davis in the open field. However, as RantSports.com expounds upon, brittle hands continue to force-feed a trend of dropped passes and muffed returns.
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