Chiefs camp: Three key goals and top battle

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton seeks to improve the run defense.Photo: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt Derrick, The Sports Xchange
Looking at the Chiefs' priorities

Three goals:

  • Tighten up the run defense. The Chiefs spent money and draft picks shoring up the middle of their defense to bolster the league's 25th-ranked run defense. The club yielded 150-yard rushers in their last two playoff losses, so if the run defense doesn't improve, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton may find himself on the hot seat.

  • Find a cornerback rotation. With Marcus Peters gone and Kendall Fuller and David Amerson joining the defense, the Chiefs need to find a cornerback lineup that clicks. Last year's revolving door at the right and nickel corner spots led to a defense that allowed 247 passing yards per game.

  • Develop chemistry on offense. The Chiefs have high hopes in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but can he spread the ball around enough to keep everyone happy? The Chiefs return a trio of 1,000-yard performers last season in Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and now add Sammy Watkins to the mix. It's a dizzying array of talent but also a quartet that expects to get the ball.

Top battle:

--Left guard. The only real battle for a starting position focuses on left guard, a position that has bedeviled the Chiefs for much of the last four seasons. Bryan Witzmann started 13 games there last season but the team appears ready to consider other alternatives. Parker Ehinger, who started five games at left guard as a rookie in 2016, and undrafted free agent Ryan Hunter from Bowling Green split time at the position during offseason workouts. Cameron Erving also might contend for the role if center Mitch Morse proves healthy during training camp. Sixth-round pick Kahlil McKenzie, who is making the move from defensive line to guard, appears a project for now rather than an immediate solution as a starter.

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