Not only is Wilson the primary backup for Hall-of-Fame bound tight end Tony Gonzalez, but with the departure of fullback Tony Richardson, Wilson could end up taking snaps as an H-back. That means he could very well find himself lead blocking for running back Larry Johnson at times.
Wilson has been preparing for this his entire career. After being drafted by the Chiefs in 2004, former offensive coordinator Al Saunders started grooming him for the H-back role. Saunders had Wilson study three positions: tight end, wide receiver and fullback. Now that Mike Solari has taken over as offensive coordinator, it appears Wilson may be used in at least two of those roles.
"I feel like my role is pretty much the same," said Wilson. "I have to go in there and do some tight end things, but also to go in and do some movement things, what we like to call the F position: guys in motion, doing some blocking out of the backfield. I think my role's increased as far as doing things out of the backfield, but I'm doing pretty much the things I've always been doing."
As soon as he was drafted, there was plenty of buzz about the versatile young tight end. Wilson impressed the coaching staff with his athleticism and versatility. Wilson showed the hands and speed of a wide receiver. He was so good at catching the football, it was a shock when he finally dropped a difficult pass that happened to be thrown a little too far in front of him.
But before he could even get in a regular season game, Wilson broke his leg in the preseason. That injury cost him most of his rookie year, but he buried himself in his playbook and film study. Last season, he spent most of the year making up for lost time, getting used to the speed of the game and working to get a better grasp of the offense. This year, Wilson hopes to make an impact.
"I'm a lot more comfortable out there," said Wilson. "The first year was definitely a learning experience; there's a lot of volume in the offense. The second year, you get used to the speed of the game and you've got a lot of the knowledge of the offense under your belt, but you're still out there learning some things. With me being out most of my first year, I definitely learned a lot being out on the field my second year."
"This year, I'm kind of putting it all together. I've got a pretty good grasp of the volume of the offense, and I'm pretty comfortable with the speed of the game, making my reads and recognizing defenses."
This past off-season, Wilson's focus was improving his blocking. Now that he may end up in even more blocking situations, improving his technique was paramount. A good blocker has to have the strength to push defenders while knowing how to use leverage effectively. He also has to have the right footwork.
"The blocking game all comes down to footwork," said Wilson. "I'm strong enough to mix it up with those guys in there, but I also know that because I'm a smaller tight end, if I don't use the proper technique and I don't use my footwork to put myself exactly right, I'm going to put myself at a disadvantage. A lot of the bigger guys can get away without having perfect footwork because of their strength and size, but I have to make sure that my techniques are sound. I have to make sure to be precise and put myself in a situation where I can be successful."
One on One: Chiefs Tight End Kris Wilson
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