Training camp preview: Chiefs hope cohesion pays off

*Training camp is quickly approaching, which means it's time to preview the most exciting part of the summer. Over the next month, Around The NFL's Conor Orr will break down all 32 teams and give us something to look for in late July. *

Today, we take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs. Click on the tabs above to see other AFC West camp previews. For the rest of the NFL, click here.

Training camp report date: Rookies July 26, veterans July 29

Training camp location: Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Missouri

Offseason in a nutshell: The Chiefs opted for the All Is Well approach to free agency this offseason, adding complementary pieces like wide receiver Rod Streater and a premium upgrade at right tackle with Mitchell Schwartz. All else is status quo, but the Chiefs are betting on good luck and health to keep their quest for AFC West supremacy alive for one more season. With Eric Berry likely approaching free agency and Justin Houston's injury potentially lingering into the regular season (not to mention the uncertainty surrounding Jamaal Charles and his recovery from a second ACL injury), there is a now or never feeling in Kansas City, with the division open for the taking.

Player to watch: Outside linebacker Dee Ford. The former first-round pick missed a portion of minicamp with knee issues, but he should be ready for training camp. Though Tamba Hali and Houston have taken up a large majority of the pass-rushing opportunities, Ford finally has the chance to spread his wings in a multiple, pressure-based defense with great defensive linemen in front of him. Will coordinator Bob Sutton trust him alongside Hali as a base outside linebacker?


1. Will the Chiefs get a full camp out of Eric Berry?

After the franchise-tag deadline came and passed without a long-term deal for Berry, it's safe to wonder if there are any hard feelings lingering in Kansas City. Berry's performance last year was fantastic -- phenomenal, considering that he missed time with Hodgkin lymphoma leading up to the season. The 2015 Comeback Player of the Year was heroic in his personal health battles and has been a consistent face-of-the-franchise-type player in Kansas City. Would it hurt to remind them?

2. Who wins the No. 2 running back job?

The Chiefs inked Charcandrick West and Spencer Wareto long-term extensions this offseason, ensuring that their comfortable depth at running back remains so for another season or two. But someone isn't going to be happy, regardless of how well the Chiefs do this season; as long as Charles is healthy, carries will be at a premium. What is the drop-off, exactly? Last season, with Charles missing the last 11 games, West logged 160 carries and Ware had 72. During Charles' last healthy season, he carried the ball 206 times over 15 games. Knile Davis carried the ball 134 times, and after that, De'Anthony Thomas logged just 14 carries. According to, Ware was the lead candidate to win the job this June, but anything can happen in August.

3. Will Phillip Gaines hold on to the second cornerback spot?

2015 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marcus Peters is a star in the making, but Sean Smith -- who decamped for the Raiders in free agency -- left some big shoes to fill. At the moment, Gaines is holding the job down, but the Chiefs drafted KeiVarae Russell and Eric Murray -- two cornerbacks who will spend all summer vying for playing time.

Way-too-early season prediction: The Chiefs are the safest pick to take the AFC West this year, although there is a lot to like about the Oakland Raiders. There's certainly a way this team can win 10 or 11 games, even if the variables -- Charles and Houston -- don't perform.

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