After it was announced that Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles would not practice Wednesday, a reporter asked head coach Andy Reid if he thought backup Knile Davis was capable of handling the starting responsibility.
"If it's work ethic that determines that and want to, I would tell you yes," Reid answered definitively. "Nobody has spent more time in the offseason than him working in the weight room, working on scheme and learning."
Davis, now in his second year out of the University of Arkansas, has only rushed for more than 20 attempts twice in his NFL career: once in last year's final game against the Chargers and last Sunday against the Broncos.
In both games, he performed sufficiently well, scoring two touchdowns and compiling at least 75 yards rushing in each. But what makes those efforts more impressive has been his ability to be ready when the team has needed him, something that can be difficult to do when you're waiting behind a three-time Pro Bowler.
"It's tough when Jamaal's in on everything," Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said Sunday after the game against the Broncos. "Jamaal takes all the reps and so for those young guys, it's a tough position."
On Wednesday, Reid agreed.
"Anytime you're a relief pitcher at whatever position it is in this league, that's a tough assignment," Reid said. "You're not going to get all the reps during the week so you've got to take some mental reps there and make sure you stay in tune with certain things and he's done that."
The Kansas City Chiefs practice at the outdoor training facility on September 17, 2014 for their upcoming away game vs the Dolphins.
One player who had been taking mental reps for the past two weeks but returned to the field Wednesday was running back and punt returner De'Anthony Thomas. Before practice, he addressed what the road back had been like.
"It's tough. I feel like I worked hard all through that training camp. It's a long training camp," Thomas admitted. "But things happen and I've been working hard. I still had that focus to go out there when I was hurt to work hard and get ready for when I come back."
Thomas, who Reid said would "ease back into things," was limited on Wednesday but is hopeful that he will be ready for the Dolphins on Sunday. During preseason play, Thomas owned one of the brightest moments for the Chiefs when he returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.
On Sunday, he simply hopes for an opportunity to play in the long-awaited first regular season game of his NFL career.
"I've been waiting for this moment my whole life to play in my first NFL game," he said with a sparkle in his eye. "I'm very excited to play and help this team get a win."
- S Eric Berry (ankle) and RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) did not practice.
- S Tamba Hali (ankle/knee) and RB De'Anthony Thomas (hamstring) were limited