Kansas City Chiefs 2014 Training Camp Preview

By John McMullen, NFL Editor

(SportsNetwork.com) -

REPORT DATE: July 20 (rookies), July 23 (veterans)

SITE: Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO

CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: The Chiefs made the big leap from two wins to 11 in Andy Reid's first-year as head coach, but a sequel figures to be far tougher now that Kansas City won't be sneaking up on many.

The bigger issues for the Chiefs remain contract extensions for underrated quarterback Alex Smith as well as pass-rushing star Justin Houston, who skipped OTAs because of unhappiness with his contract.

KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Fourth-round draft choice De'Anthony Thomas could be the eventual replacement for Dexter McCluster, who signed with Tennessee in the offseason.

The undersized Thomas figures to be a versatile "Where's Waldo-type" player who can line up in the backfield, flourish from the slot and be an impact returner.

"I'm a player that nobody's ever seen step on the football field," the confident Thomas said.

KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Kansas City added another potential impact edge rusher to Houston and Tamba Hali by drafting Auburn product Dee Ford in the first round.

The athletic Ford, who played defensive end with the Tigers, will be making the move to linebacker in the Chiefs' 3-4 defense and serves as valuable insurance in case things don't work out with Houston in the long run.

"The pass rush is all about mentality (more than) just straight pass rush because at some point they're going to figure out what you can and can't do," Ford said. "It's all about changing it up and deception. We talk about deception all of the time. We want to deceive the offense. It's just another level of mental training that I'm learning from Tamba."

PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):

Aug 7 - vs. Cincinnati, 8:00 PM Aug 17 - at Carolina, 8:00 PM Aug 23 - vs. Minnesota, 8:00 PM Aug 28 - at Green Bay, 7:00 PM

07/17 15:47:02 ET