ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Kansas City Chiefs training camp:
Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry was taken off the practice field in a motorized cart with an ankle injury. The extent of Berry’s injury was still being evaluated but it didn’t appear to be serious. Berry walked over to a medical tent adjacent to the practice field under his own power for an initial examination. He soon walked over to the cart and was taken away from the practice field. He did not return to the field before the practice session ended. The Chiefs are thin at safety behind the starters, Berry and Husain Abdullah. Berry was replaced in the starting lineup by an undrafted rookie, Daniel Sorensen. He normally would have been replaced by Sanders Commings. But Commings had surgery Thursday for a broken ankle. Whether or not Berry returns quickly, the Chiefs need to find a veteran safety. They lost veterans Kendrick Lewis and Quintin Demps from last year’s roster and failed to replace them with a veteran.
Veteran cornerback Sean Smith moved back into the starting lineup toward the end of practice, but only because Marcus Cooper was also carted off the field with an injury. Cooper strained a hamstring. The Chiefs are similarly thin at cornerback. They released one starter, Brandon Flowers, during the offseason. Meanwhile, their only cornerback acquisition of consequence was third-round draft pick Phillip Gaines of Rice. Gaines has yet to receive any work with the starters.
The Chiefs spent an extensive practice period working inside the 20-yard line. One of the defensive highlights happened when Cooper, before his injury, broke up a pass intended for Dwayne Bowe in the end zone. The offense later retaliated with touchdown passes on consecutive plays, the first from Aaron Murray to Richard Gordon and the other from Alex Smith to Kyle Williams. "There were some good things on both sides," coach Andy Reid said. "We kind of traded back and forth."
The Chiefs are sorting through a large group of wide receivers who appear to have legitimate hopes of making the roster. One backup, A.J. Jenkins, left practice early because of a sore hamstring. Two others, Junior Hemingway and Mark Harrison, did not practice, each because of a sore hamstring. Those absences leave more snaps for young players like Frankie Hammond Jr. and Albert Wilson. "I feel the young guys," Reid said. "We’ll keep playing them. Everybody’s playing out here. We’ll give them as many reps as we can. Everybody’s going to play once we get to the first preseason game. It takes a little time to evaluate it." The Chiefs begin the preseason on Aug. 7 against Cincinnati at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs practice again on Friday at 8:15 a.m. CT.