Chiefs Training Camp: Which Offensive Positions Are Up For Grabs?

Follow along as we take a look at the various Chiefs training camp battles.

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Chiefs Training Camp: Which Offensive Positions Are Up For Grabs?

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley and GM Scott Pioli will tell you every position is up for grabs. That's true, to an extent, but there are some positions that are essentially signed, sealed and delivered.

Then there are some starters that will be determined in the three weeks in St. Joe for training camp. Here are the offensive positions that are yet to have a clear starter.

Center

Casey Wiegmann, the 37-year old veteran, will take on Rudy Niswanger, the incumbent.

Clearly the Chiefs wouldn't have brought in Wiegmann on a one-year deal if they were completely content with Niswanger so this will be a good competition.

With other players on the roster that can play backup center, the loser of this battle may not make the squad.

Prediction: Casey Wiegmann

Running back

OK so there may not be a true starter along here since Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are expected to split the carries but someone needs to take the majority of the snaps, right?

Things you should know:

*Haley has consistently been hesitant to give the full load to Charles. We saw that last year before Larry Johnson was released and then again throughout the season when Haley said getting someone to complement Charles was a priority.

*Haley loves Thomas Jones. Like some of the other vets, Jones was signed as much for his ability on the field as it was for his work ethic off the field. Haley notices who is working hard and seems to reward them.

The winner of this battle may be more about the type of offense the Chiefs want to run than actual ability because each has demonstrated that given the right situation they can succeed.

Prediction: Jamaal Charles over Thomas Jones in a 60/40 split.

Third receiver

2009 training camp talk: "Can Bobby Engram win the Chiefs no. 3 receiver job?"

Things are a little different these days. Chris Chambers and Dwayne Bowe are numbers one and two, however that shakes out.

In is Jerheme Urban, who has familiarity with Haley. That might give him a slight edge early on in camp because the Chiefs are also focusing on getting Cassel as comfortable as possible.

Also in is rookie Dexter McCluster. He was impressive in shorts during offseason drills. I've said before, the way he makes cuts is video game-like. He's quick and one of the Chiefs' emphasis this season has been to cut down on Matt Cassel's sacks. An easy way to do that is to give him quick options and McCluster could help with that.

There's also the possibility that both play. The Chiefs have touted McCluster's versatility so maybe his time on the field is limited to four receiver sets, wildcat and running back at times.

My best guess is that Urban sees more time early and the Chiefs bring McCluster on slowly giving him more and more looks as the season goes on.

Prediction: Jerheme Urban

Tight end

This figures to be another interesting battle.

You've got the veteran Leonard Pope and the rookie Tony Moeaki.

The Chiefs coaching staff really likes Pope. He's been in the system for a year and understands how things work. That's a big advantage early on in training camp and the regular season.

The rookie, Moeaki, is more athletic and more of a pass catcher than Pope. He comes from Iowa, where he was well-coached, and ended OTAs on a high note after missing the early portion with a stomach issue.

Like many of the other veteran vs. rookie position battles, the veteran will have an edge early on so I'm going with Pope but I expect Moeaki to get plenty of opportunities moving forward.

Prediction: Leonard Pope

***

A lot of these positions could go either way but I've given the advantage to the veterans in several cases. The Chiefs want to win and win early in order to avoid a situation like last year where they were eliminated from playoff talk by the first week of November so I gave the advantage to the veterans in several instances.

If the Chiefs start off hot, it'll be interesting to see how the coaching staff works in some of the younger guys.

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Chiefs Training Camp: Which Defensive Positions Are Up For Grabs?

The Kansas City Chiefs will depart for training camp in St. Joseph, MO in about 24 hours. They'll arrive on Thursday and hit the field for the first time at 1:50 p.m. on Friday.

Chiefs coach Todd Haley and GM Scott Pioli will tell you that every position is up for grabs. While there may be some degree of truth to that, we know a few positions are already set in stone.

Today, though, we'll be looking at the positions that are up for grabs. If you're to believe me, there are four positions that don't have starters penciled in yet.

Nose Tackle

Ron Edwards will likely be the starter heading into the 2010 season but there are a few folks hoping and wondering if Shaun Smith and/or Derek Lokey can win the job in training camp.

For the Chiefs, starting Edwards doesn't do a whole lot. His age would indicate that he's not the future of the position but the Chiefs not addressing the nose tackle in the draft would suggest they're content with pitting these three men against each other and seeing who comes out the winner.

Smith was signed as a free agent and he has familiarity with Romeo Crennel. Lokey was on the club last year and represents likely a reserve option (though the Chiefs wouldn't complain if his play warranted a starting job).

Edwards is the clear favorite but he hasn't claimed the job yet.

Prediction: Ron Edwards

Inside Linebacker

The outside linebacker spots are set. Inside linebacker, however, is a different story.

This might be the best camp battle. You've got the incumbents, Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays, and the duo looking to take the starting job, Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher.

The Chiefs could switch things up but in OTAs this is how they were lining up with each duo splitting time with the first team.

Johnson is entering a contract year so he wants to see the field as much as possible. My guess is that's enough motivation for him to win the starting job with Belcher coming along with him.

Prediction: Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher

Free Safety

The veteran, Jon McGraw, will try to stave off the rookie, Kendrick Lewis.

It sounds like a battle, and it will be, but McGraw is a team player and will help Lewis along.

McGraw is among the Chiefs best special teams options so I'm wondering if, because of that, Lewis sees more time on the field.

This position will likely see multiple starters throughout the season as Lewis gets comfortable in the league but look for McGraw to begin the season as the starter.

Prediction: Jon McGraw

***

As we've explained before, the Chiefs are banking on the young defensive players already in house to make a big leap. Considering the number of draft picks they've had in recent years, they've got the potential there.

Now, it's just a matter of realizing it.

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