Kansas City Chiefs: 1st Impressions from Training Camp
The pads were on for the first time since January 4, when the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. The Chiefs are looking to overcome a rough end to last season, and it all starts in training camp.
There has already been a lot of activity at the training camp in St. Joseph, Missouri, as the Chiefs move forward and try to build the best 53-man roster possible.
In this slideshow, we will review some early impressions from Chiefs training camp up to this point.
John Dorsey Signing Jamaal Charles to an Extension
One of the hottest topics in the NFL today revolves around contracts and whether or not players deserve what they are asking for. For running back Jamaal Charles, it was clear. After his large contribution to the offense, he had valid reasons to hold out.
However, general manager John Dorsey scored big when he gave Charles a two-year extension very early in the holdout process. Charles held out for only half a day and reported to camp immediately.
When it comes to contract negotiations, all eyes are on Alex Smith and Justin Houston as fans wait patiently to see if the Chiefs make any moves with either—or both—of those players.
Injuries on the Offensive Line
The Chiefs know they entered camp with a thin offensive line, losing three key players early in free agency.
This past weekend, the Chiefs' offensive line took a hit as starting right tackle Donald Stephenson and backup center Eric Kush both suffered ankle injuries. Kush rested on Sunday, while Stephenson was taken away from the action.
There are no details as to when they will return, but missing repetitions would be a horrible blow. The Chiefs will need both players to participate as much as possible as the team tries to establish a solid offensive line with a fairly new group.
Fans Show De'Anthony Thomas Lots of Love
He's yet to play a snap, but De'Anthony Thomas has captivated the crowd at training camp with his speed. Chiefs fans were excited about Dexter McCluster in 2010 before he made his official debut and, coincidentally, Thomas is likely to carry most of the duties McCluster had on the team prior to leaving for the Titans.
His speed can be compared to that of Charles. Despite being a fourth-round pick, don't be surprised if Thomas finishes 2014 as the most productive Chiefs rookie.
Aaron Murray Participating, Possibly Making a Push
Another popular rookie among Chiefs fans is quarterback Aaron Murray, who stood out during his time at Georgia. Murray underwent surgery on his knee after suffering a torn ACL back in November.
Although there were concerns looming, Murray has participated in practice and is ineligible to be on the physically unable to perform list.
As for his performance in camp, Murray has shown encouraging signs that he can play at the professional level. He has a chance to show more of what he can do in some upcoming preseason games. It is likely the Chiefs will keep him on the roster since they selected him in the fifth round.
The question remains: Can he become the primary backup behind Alex Smith? Chase Daniel has played behind Smith and looked good in the regular-season finale when Andy Reid rested the starters. Everyone will have a better idea of who will likely be the top backup after a couple of preseason games.
Fan Support in St. Joseph
The Chiefs are in their final year of the five-year deal of having training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. From 1991 to 2009, the Chiefs held training camp in River Falls, Wisconsin. Since then, the Chiefs have moved closer to home and made it easier for Chiefs fans from Kansas City to see them in camp.
From the public's perspective, there has never been anything negative between the Chiefs and MWSU. However, Randy Covitz of The Kansas City Star reports that the Chiefs will decide by the end of the calendar year where they will hold future training camps.
The Chiefs certainly will take the opportunity to explore their options, and money is a big factor in situations like this. Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt spoke positively about the city and facility at MWSU. It's an affordable day trip (or two-day trip) for Chiefs fans in the Kansas City area, unlike River Falls.
The next-best option would be to have training camp at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. The Chiefs originally held training camp at this location from 1963, the franchise's first year in Kansas City, all the way through 1990. Going back could be an option, and it would be even closer for fans as it's within the Kansas City suburbs.