Kansas City Chiefs receiver Josh Gordon, amid a quiet training camp, appears to be in a battle to win a roster spot.
So what is his confidence level that he’ll be part of the team’s 53-man group heading to Arizona for Week 1 on Sept. 11?
“There’s no telling. There’s no telling,” Gordon said Monday at Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western. “I’d say cards are close to the vest I think, as they should be for everybody, for important reasons. More importantly, I just want to go out with the opportunities I get, give them 110%. The cards fall where they may, and see what happens.
“But I do not have an answer for that, to be honest. I don’t. I wasn’t a starter last year, so I’m fighting for a spot just like everybody else.”
The number situation at receiver appears tight.
KC projects to keep six wideouts, with Mecole Hardman, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore appearing to be locks. Speedster Justin Watson has impressed coaches since the summer, and special teams ace Daurice Fountain and veteran Corey Coleman also are top competitors for the final spots.
For his part, Gordon — in his eighth pro season at age 31 — says he’s continuing to focus on self-improvement. Much like working on a golf swing, he says perfecting football technique is a constant and never-ending battle.
“I love the game. I’m addicted to it and obsessed with it,” Gordon said. “So I’m watching to see, ‘How can I get out of a break quicker?’ Maybe transition a little bit better after the catch, catching the ball in general, things like that.”
Gordon admits he never fully settled into his role with the Chiefs last season after signing with the team in September. He said parts of trying to catch up with the playbook and gain chemistry with quarterback Patrick Mahomes was “definitely a steep hill to climb.”
“I think there’s definitely rapport to be built. I know we didn’t have that last year really at all,” Gordon said. “I think this offseason has been my first opportunity — our first opportunity — to do that. “
There was some optimism that summer workouts with the team and Mahomes might prepare Gordon more for this go-round.
So far, though, Gordon has mostly run with the second- and third-team offense in camp while struggling to make standout plays.
It’s why the preseason games could loom important. The Chiefs open with their exhibition contest on Saturday at Chicago, with Gordon saying he mainly needs to “make plays when coach asks me to” in order to secure a spot with the team.
“That’s when it’s time to do what we get asked to do. That’s what I came here to do — (produce) when the lights are on,” Gordon said. “I want to do it at practice first, for sure. But you can’t always get it right in practice. You don’t always have the time, the reps, opportunity. You’ve got to take the mental reps, and based on the opportunity I have, just go show improvement. Come the preseason games, that’s what I hope to do.”
On Monday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid complimented Gordon for his last few practices, describing those as “really good days.”
“The way he approaches it is full throttle. He’s going for it,” Reid said. “And there’s great competition, but for him to be in there doing what he’s doing, I appreciate every snap he takes in there.”
Gordon, if nothing else, says he’ll appreciate these next steps. On numerous occasions Monday, he reiterated he was happy to be in Chiefs training camp while being able to play the sport he loves.
“We’ve got some time left here for the preseason, so maybe we’ll see what happens,” Gordon said. “And hopefully I do enough to make the team.”
Fountain did not practice because of a groin strain.
Receiver Gary Jennings (concussion), defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (knee) and tight end Jody Fortson (quad) also remained out of drills.
Lucas Niang (knee) and cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder) are still on the physically unable to perform list.
Matt Dickerson, a defensive end whom Arizona released in late July, joined the Chiefs on Monday, wearing No. 96. To make room for him, the Chiefs released defensive end Shilique Calhoun.
• The Chiefs went through a lighter “10-10-10” practice Monday that consisted of the first-team offense going against the second-team defense and vice versa. The team finished drills in around 75 minutes.
• Andrew Wylie started first-team reps at right tackle with the offensive line, then after a few plays, rotated to right guard while Geron Christian subbed into right tackle. That was after Sunday’s practice when Christian played most of the first-team snaps at right tackle.
• Receiver Cornell Powell had one of the top highlights while working with the 3s, jumping to bring down a deep sideline pass from quarterback Shane Buechele over defensive back Joshua Williams.
• Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and linebacker Willie Gay both had pass breakups while going against the second-team offense.
• Receiver Skyy Moore was briefly featured again in the backfield, taking a handoff from Mahomes just before practice ended.