Player Development Helping Young Chiefs to Thrive

There’s been a lot of talk on the job that Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and his staff have done in bringing in players to help contribute on a roster filled with injuries.

This is undoubtedly true, as Dorsey and his staff have done a phenomenal job bringing in talent, but that’s only part of the equation. Once those players arrived in Kansas City, the coaching staff, led by Andy Reid, has had the task of developing those players into contributors whenever their name may be called.

“The coaches have done a nice job in that case,” Reid said of the staff’s ability to develop. “They have had a few guys in spots they’ve had to coach up. But Dorsey’s given them talent to work with and they put their expertise and work them like crazy.”

For many players this year, the call may have been sooner than anyone expected.

Three guys brought in last year have stepped up after just one year in this system and have thrived on the defensive side of the ball. The first is defensive end Jaye Howard, who moved into a starting role after Mike DeVito went down with an injury. Then you have linebacker James-Michael Johnson, who has stepped in for the injured Derrick Johnson. Finally, safety Ron Parker has made the switch from cornerback over to safety and played well over the past few games.

All three of these guys have improved since they arrived in Kansas City and began working with their respective coordinators and positional coaches. Also, all three of these players were picked up on waivers last year by general manager John Dorsey.

Other second-year guys on the offensive side of the ball have also stepped up for the Chiefs. Tight end Travis Kelce, running back Knile Davis and left tackle Eric Fisher, all have developed within the last year after being drafted in the same 2013 class.

It’s the coach’s ability to work and develop these players that have the Chiefs competing with some of the best teams in the NFL over the past three games.

“Good teachers,” Reid explained. “That’s what you’re looking for. So that’s what we have there and Dorsey takes care of the rest with the expertise in his area—evaluation. And his guys, they get out there and they kind of scour the country. A lot of hours go into that.”

Most recently, we saw rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines play his best football of the season when the Chiefs needed him the most.

“I thought (Phillip) Gaines did a nice job,” Reid said after the win over the Chargers. “The defense battled and against a really good offense. It’s a tribute to Dorsey and his guys, and it’s a tribute to those kids.”

Recently, Dorsey praised the coaching staff and players for what they’ve been able to do this season.

“It’s comforting that we’re moving in a proper direction,” General Manager John Dorsey said. “It’s a comfort knowing that you’re deeper than you were last year. Whenever you have a coaching staff, like we have assembled here, you know they’re going to get quality coaching and teaching. That’s all you can ask for.

“The intestinal fortitude that this bunch has, it speaks volumes of where we’re headed.”

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