For 24 to 48 hours, the swell of fear from Kansas City Chiefs fans was actually visceral. The Chiefs were already softer in the middle of the defensive line than what most fans and NFL analysts thought they should be. Veteran journeyman Ron Edwards had done a decent job in the middle for a while, but never to any game-changing degree. Shaun Smith was there to provide another able, versatile body along the line (along with the best attitude of any Chiefs defender). But there was room for more -- either that over the top veteran acquisition or a top rookie.
Then the NFL Draft goes by without any major additions to the spot. The Chiefs did select Jerrell Powe in the sixth round, but addressing a position in the sixth round is hardly seen as a major move, no matter how heralded the prospect has been in the past. Like it or not, Powe was a developmental acquisition and could not be expected to make a major impact in year one (or even two, for that matter). Then Edwards left to join the Carolina Panthers acquisition circus. Finally, Smith left for the Tennessee Titans in a move that left Chiefs Nation stunned.
Suddenly there was no one. Powe was left standing alone, unless you count the ever-present shadow known as Anthony Toribio. Chiefs fans were hitting the panic button, wondering why the Aubrayo Franklin signing announcement hadn't been made. A morning, afternoon and evening go by while seemingly every other NFL franchise is making moves, and it was enough for the masses to take to Twitter asking the same question: "Where is Scott Pioli?"
Kelly Gregg was his answer -- his long-awaited answer. For some, it's been great news. For others, they still want Franklin. It's a fear that the Chiefs are still short-handed. Others point to his age (35) and wonder how much is left. Others wonder why the Ravens would cut him if he was really that good anymore. Personally, I think part of it was being used to Edwards and Smith and wanting at least one of them to still be around to bolster the line-up. Suddenly the anchor point of the 3-4 defense was left to two new faces -- one older, one younger. But Romeo Crennel believes you don't have to fear.
"He’s a good player he has to be reckoned with and I think he will be good for some of these young guys on our team," Crennel said at Chiefs practice yesterday. "The thing that I found about veteran defensive lineman is they know all the tricks of the trade. They know where to put their hands, they know how to fight the pressure, so if he can give some of that experience to some of these young guys, and I’ve had veterans before who have been able to do that and they can help young guys develop and so that’s what we expect from Kelly."
The reviews on Gregg across the board have been how much of an impact he will have on the field and in the locker room, a savvy move for a team that lost Brian Waters and Mike Vrabel as their veteran leaders on both sides. Gregg has been a part of championship defenses coached by some of the best in the business. And after over a decade in the league at a playoff-level team, he's seen it all and can handle what's thrown his way.
Powe will learn from one of the best while also playing alongside him in his final days as an NFL pro. That's not a bad move in the end, and even though it's different, Chiefs fans will soon realize that everything is better than it was before.