Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

September 05, 2018 at 1:08 am.

–There’s a first time for everything, and for head coach Andy Reid it’s the first time in his 20-season career of heading into the season with just two quarterbacks on the active roster. The club released veteran Matt McGloin on Sunday after adding rookie Chase Litton to the practice squad. That leaves just starter Patrick Mahomes and backup Chad Henne on the active roster.

“We looked at the percentages — I think there are 17 or 18 teams somewhere around there, you can double check me on that, but there’s something like that in there that are doing it and have done it,” Reid said.

Indeed, 18 NFL teams currently carry just two quarterbacks on their active roster. The Chiefs opted for two quarterbacks so they could carry young players at other positions. The team released McGloin to make room for rookie offensive lineman Ike Boettger, claimed off waivers from Buffalo Sunday.

“We thought we would do that and see how it worked but it was in order to keep some of the young guys,” Reid said.

–Kansas City opens the season with 19 players new to the team this year, including 10 rookies. Reid said the team had many young players they wanted to keep and needed to find homes on the roster.

“I think as you build a team you’ve got to keep that in mind,” Reid said. “As long as you’ve got players you feel comfortable with that you can perform at a high level with and win. Those are the decisions you make.”

The rookie class includes their six draft picks but also features four undrafted free agents. The Chiefs signed running back Darrel Williams and linebacker Ben Niemann following the draft. The club acquired cornerback Charvarius Ward via a trade with Dallas last week, then claimed Boettger off waivers Sunday.

Reid said Boettger’s 6-foot-6, 313-pound frame made an immediate impression upon meeting him.

“He’s got huge hands on him and a big body,” Reid said. “He was a two-time team captain. He’s got good leadership.”

Reid also mentioned offensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie, one of the team’s sixth-round selections this year. McKenzie is making the transition to offense after playing defensive line in college.

“You just saw him get better every week,” Reid said. “Is he ready to go right now? Not this minute but he will be throughout this season, he’ll continue to get better.”

The addition of Boettger brings the Chiefs’ offensive line total to 10 players. Reid said the roster remains fluid and can’t anticipate what happens next.

“So I can’t tell you what’s there today is there tomorrow,” Reid said. “I can’t say that. But we like the guys that we have, that’s why we kept them.”

–The Chiefs carry just two tight ends to Sunday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. Alex Ellis serves as backup to Travis Kelce with Demetrius Harris serving a one-game suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

“Right now, we’re good enough to get through a game I think,” Reid said.

Ellis is a true underdog story. A biomedical engineering major in college, Ellis walked on to the Tennessee Volunteers in 2011 before earning a scholarship for his senior season in 2015. He caught just 14 passes in college.

He caught the eye of scouts during the Tennessee pro day workouts in 2016 and signed with the Titans as an undrafted free agent. He later spent time with Jacksonville and New Orleans. The Chiefs claimed Ellis off waivers from the Saints in May.

Ellis was hard to miss during the team’s training camp. He frequently remained as the last player on the field after each practice.

“I think that’s just a coincidence,” Ellis said during training camp. “I’m just a guy trying to make it. I’ve got a lot people around me that are helping me and that make me better.”

The league handed Harris a one-game suspension stemming from his March 2017 arrest for marijuana possession. Harris should return as the team’s No. 2 tight end behind Kelce next week.

“When he comes back next week we’ll have our three and feel pretty good with that,” Reid said.

–Wide receiver Tyreek Hill: Hill broke out last season with 75 catches for 1,183 yards, and this season could mark his cracking the upper echelon of NFL receivers. Hill has phenomenal chemistry with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, particularly on the deep ball. He caught 14 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown in just 67 preseason snaps. With Sammy Watkins on the opposite side to draw some of the attention away, Hill could face more single-coverage matchups this season.

–Outside linebacker Breeland Speaks: The Chiefs expect Speaks to play meaningful snaps right from the beginning as a rookie, helping to spell Justin Houston and Dee Ford as well as kick in on the defensive line at times. He needs to show more speed than he displayed during the preseason, but the Chiefs believe Speaks can rush with power and set a strong edge. If Houston or Ford go down with injuries again, Speaks could play a significant role in the defense.