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Aug. 5—If you've been following the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, you've most likely been bombarded with information on how the team planned to reconstruct its wide receiving corp. While story after story came out on the subject, one facet of the team has not received much attention at all.
When the NFL season officially comes to an end, teams can see various players pack their bags and take their talents to other bidding organizations. When looking at the Chiefs' special teams unit, four of the team's top five players in terms of total special teams snaps from last season are no longer on the team.
These players ranged from return specialists to punt and kick coverage units. Assistant coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub took to the podium Tuesday morning to discuss his challenges of rebuilding.
"There are holes everywhere, It's going to be a complete reset. It's going to be tough. Really for us, it's hard to tell what a guy can do in practice. It's really the games," Toub said. "The Bears game is going to be huge for us. The Washington game is going to be huge for us. We're probably going to be making decisions all the way up until the Green Bay game."
Luckily for Toub, he's got a selection of rookies who bring an impressive skill set of speed and elusiveness. Three rookies in Trent McDuffie, Skyy Moore and Isiah Pacheco have all caught the coaches' eyes early on.
Of course, it's taking a risk to throw athletes who've never played a full NFL season into the mix early, but third year punter Tommy Townsend had his experience of being young, and relied on, to make big time plays.
"Everyone's a professional here. Everyone's going to do their job, and I have a lot of trust in our guys to do that," Townsend said. "Yeah, it's one of those things I just try and do my part and you know, I know that, my gunners and the rest of the team are going to work really hard."
While there's still some moving pieces to be put in place, it seems like running back Pacheco has solidified himself on kickoff returns.
The question then turns to who will be the second hand man to receive kickoffs? You could point your finger to a large group of speedsters on the roster, but Mecole Hardman likely won't be back there after being granted a bigger role on the offensive side of the ball.
"We're going to work (Trent) McDuffie in and Skyy (Moore)," Toub said. "We need to get someone else doing it because if Mecole's getting a lot of reps, as much as Tyreek (Hill) did, we've got to cut him back a little bit."
The reps have been consistent, the work has been hard and the roster is beginning to be figured out. With an NFL landscape that includes many electric offenses and hard hitting defenses, it can be hard to get excited about special teams.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer special teams/wide receiver Justin Watson knows how seriously Kansas City practices its special teams.
"You never want to play Kansas City when you're playing special teams, this is always a premier unit," Watson said. "... You can just tell by how much time we put into it and the effort we put into it. I love that, it's always been something that's been important to me, and you can feel that with a lot of the other guys, I feel like."
Toub mentioned that Watson could probably take Marcus Kemp's job. Marcus Kemp played the second-most special teams snaps in Kansas City last season.
Until we get the official word on who will make the cut, Chiefs' fans should have no worries about the work being put in on the special teams side of the ball.
"l feel like there's always a bit of a learning curve, you know, when you get new guys coming in," Townsend said. "We've got a lot of talent. I'm really excited to watch these new guys work."
Calvin Silvers can be reached at email@example.com.