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Chiefs still searching for answer at ILB

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

In the first few days with the full team at training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs, one thing has been abundantly clear. This team doesn’t have an answer for who should start next to Derrick Johnson.

As training camp opens, the sight at inside linebacker did not seem to have changed.

Ramik Wilson lined up with Derrick Johnson as the Mike or strong inside linebacker. A few other players had sporadic snaps with the first-team defense.  Those reps were dominated by Ramik Wilson.

Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the introduction to their NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)Wilson.

Monday saw rookie 5th round draft pick Ukeme Eligwe get reps at the inside linebacker spot with the first-team as well.

Later, Eligwe and Pierre-Louis played together at the inside linebacker positions. They appeared to be with the second team unit.

Acquiring Kevin Pierre-Louis from the Seattle Seahawks added another variable to the equation for the Chiefs. Once Pierre-Louis was able to practice with the team we saw him take snaps next to Johnson as well.

The combinations begin to increase seeing snaps for Justin March-Lillard, Josh Mauga, and Terrance Smith.

Eligwe got reps at the inside linebacker spot with the first-team as well. Later with what appeared to be the second team, it League way and Pierre-Louis played together at the inside linebacker positions.

 The New kid in Town

Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton is rotating what is a very deep linebacker room through the position while Derek Johnson was out with an abscessed tooth. Sutton was asked about several players as he addressed the media on Monday. He described Kevin Pierre-Louis as someone they watched coming out of college and commented on his capabilities, saying

“I remember he was an explosive guy coming out of college, I remember him well. In the time he has been here, he has demonstrated he has really good suddenness and quickness. Good instincts, I think he is going to be a physical guy. He is not the biggest guy in the world, but he plays very physical and we are excited to have him.”

The team will likely continue to allow each player to work on fundamentals while the team evaluates the players’ characteristics. They’ll need to determine how they best fit into the defense. This position will continue to evolve as they approach the regular season.

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A University of Kansas grad, Ryan is an Exercise Physiologist and NSCA-certified Strength & Conditioning Coach and data analyst. Ryan founded Rogue Analytics Consulting and developed the Athletic Matrix TM. His focus is player evaluation, roster building, and team management. Ryan has lived in every city in the old AFC West, including Seattle. Follow @RyanTracyNFL for more Chiefs and NFL coverage.

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