KC Chiefs continue to try new faces at right tackle; Sunday was Geron Christian’s turn

·4 min read
Tammy Ljungblad/tljungblad@kcstar.com

Through the previous nine days of full-team practices at training camp, veterans Andrew Wylie and Roderick Johnson had taken repetitions at right tackle with the first-team offense.

On the 10th day, it was veteran Geron Christian’s turn.

For the first time, Christian worked mostly with the starters during 11-on-11 drills at Missouri Western.

“This is the stage where you’re always trying to get a look at certain players to see what they can do and how do they handle (it) when placed in that situation,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. “So each and every day, I’m sure you guys will probably see something — whether it’s at the O-line, receiver or running back position, we just want to see guys play.”

The rotations among members of the Chiefs’ first-team offensive line are likely to continue throughout the rest of training camp, and perhaps even during upcoming preseason games.

Wylie projects to have the inside track after he drew seven starts at right tackle in 2021. He opened training camp with the first-team offense. But the Chiefs still need to identify the all-important swing tackle behind outside starters Wylie and Orlando Brown Jr.

Enter Christian, Johnson, rookie Darian Kinnard and Prince Tega Wanogho, all of whom are top contenders with Lucas Niang (knee) on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

When the Chiefs will make their decision about the backups at right and left tackle, however, remains to be seen.

“You always have goals, you always have expectations,” Bieniemy said. “Those can change on a day-to-day basis.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that’s in that room that are doing a hell of a job. And, obviously, we’ve got some players who are coming back off of injury at some point in time, so right now I’m not passing judgment on anyone.”

Regardless of position, Bieniemy and the Chiefs’ other coaches want to see whether the players are holding each other accountable, executing plays with attention to detail and displaying a sense of urgency.

“That can be from the right tackle to the X receiver to the Z receiver to running back to the quarterback, because we want to continue evaluating our players,” Bieniemy said.

PARTICIPATION REPORT

Wide receiver Daurice Fountain returned to practice after leaving Saturday’s session with a finger injury.

Wide receiver Gary Jennings (concussion), defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (knee) and tight end Jody Fortson (quad) continue to miss practice. Fortson hasn’t practiced since July 30, a span of six practices.

Niang and cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder, PUP list) continued to work with a trainer at the rehabilitation tent.

Wide receiver Devin Gray, whom the Chiefs signed Saturday, was on the field wearing jersey No. 80. To make room on the roster, the Chiefs released veteran cornerback Deandre Baker.

OBSERVATIONS

  • The Chiefs held their annual Family Fun Day on Sunday in front of more than 5,000 fans, according to a team spokesman.

  • The Chiefs didn’t have the best start to 11-on-11 drills, as the offense came out and recorded three infractions, including two false starts. “We just didn’t execute,” Bieniemy explained.

  • Rookie cornerback Joshua Williams made a hard hit on wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was on the ground for a few moments before getting up and continuing to practice. The crowd let out a collective gasp after Williams appeared to almost clothesline Smith-Schuster.

  • Wide receiver Mecole Hardman lined up behind center in the Wildcat formation during 11-on-11 drills for the third time this summer. He didn’t throw it, though, instead taking the snap around the right side for a minimal gain.

  • Speaking of Hardman, quarterback Patrick Mahomes connected with the speedster on a deep pass down the middle of the field during 7-on-7 drills. Hardman got behind the coverage and made an easy catch for a long touchdown.

  • Second-year center Creed Humphrey continues to dominate during one-on-one drills against the defensive line. Humphrey has shown to be an immovable object regardless who is lining up over him and has held his own against defensive tackle Chris Jones, a three-time Pro Bowler.