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The Kansas City Chiefs have yet to make a couple of announcements that have some fans frustrated and/or curious as to what is going on. Their first round draft choice Dontari Poe has yet to sign a deal and Dwayne Bowe, the team's best wide receiver, has not yet officially signed his franchise tender. Both players will be essential for the team's success in 2012.
However, ESPN's Bill Williamson says there's likely not too much to worry about when it comes to Bowe given the amount of money he's going to earn this year -- $9.5 million.
Williamson writes, "Now it is up to Bowe, who has yet to sign his tender, to force the team to make a decision with his performance this season as the franchised player. That's why I'd be surprised if Bowe holds outs for a significant amount of time. He knows his 2012 salary is too good to pass up and his future in the NFL depends on him doing well this season."
As for Poe, several rookies remain unsigned and they're announced more and more by the day as training camp approaches. Neither player should become an issue for the team, but Bowe's franchise designation is definitely more flammable than any other tension the Chiefs might feel this preseason.
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The Kansas City Chiefs made a declaration at the beginning of this offseason that the team was going to address the level of competition at each position and even singled out quarterback in the process. Most fans and sportswriters assumed that the Chiefs would then go after a free agent or rookie quarterback to compete with Matt Cassel, who would be returning from injury, for the starter's role. Alas, that has not happened.
The Chiefs did add Brady Quinn, but it's been for a very clear back-up role as Cassel remains the starter. However, a rookie draft choice from last year has not yet played and it might just be the emergence of former Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi that becomes the competition Scott Pioli mentioned in the first place.
"We drafted a quarterback last year who I truly believe has good ability and has the potential to start in this league," Pioli said of Stanzi. "I really do believe that."
His quarterback coach also had some good praise and insight into the quarterback that Stanzi is developing into a full year after being drafted in the fifth round.
"(Stanzi) is much-improved already this year with the capabilities of the offense, making decisions on the line of scrimmage with protections and runs and things like that. Things that we weren't even getting to until midway through training camp, so this is a real plus for him," Jim Zorn said.
Stanzi didn't play a single snap last season for a team that started Tyler Palko for four consecutive games at quarterback. It was a very puzzling affair last season under former head coach Todd Haley and it was that roster mismanagement that ultimately cost him his job among other perceived concerns. Perhaps Stanzi will earn his shot this season, or at least get the chance to compete for some real playing time.
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Some fans might be confused about why the Kansas City Chiefs would not sign their best wide receiver in Dwayne Bowe -- and perhaps their best offensive player -- to a new contract before the deadline yesterday to lock up franchise-designated players. It can often be seen as a black-and-white issue when, in fact, everything has degrees of complication that make a seemingly simple decision quite difficult.
Mike Lombardi took some time recently to discuss the issue with Nate Bukaty from 810 WHB's Border Patrol in Kansas City. He explained that the issue might not be keeping Bowe, but rather keeping him at a particular price point.
"I think some teams just want one year deals on players," Lombardi said to . "It doesn't really tighten you down. What people don't understand about the cap in upcoming years is that it's not going up. It's going to stay pretty much flat this year and next year and perhaps even the year after.
"So when you enter into a longterm deal," he continued, "you have built-in raises and built-in escalators within the contract and sometimes you're just better off renting the player for the year and see where you go in terms of your team and where it fits before you enter into the longterm and that's really where I think the Chiefs are at this point."
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It seems as if Dwayne Bowe is definitely going to have to prove himself for one more season before getting a deal that he's completely happy with. Training camp is just a week away, and Kansas City Chiefs are satisfied with the franchise tag deal that Bowe was hit with for 2012.
NFL.com says the Chiefs seem "happy to keep Bowe motivated on a one-yearl deal. They rank him as the 10th likely player to get a long term contract, out of the 12 players who enter Monday's deadline under the franchise tag.
The Chiefs have been relatively silent in their dealings with Bowe and there has been no indication of a long term deal in the works.
It looks like Dwayne Bowe is going to have to show the Chiefs in one more season that he is worth the long term deal that he's been looking for. A report from CBSSports.com earlier Friday indicated that the negotiations on Bowe's potential long term deal, as opposed to the franchise tender, were still gridlocked.
This, from Jason La Canfora:
Talks with the Chiefs and receiver Dwayne Bowe have gone nowhere, really, according to sources, and there doesn't appear to be much impetus to securing a longer deal now.
Bowe has been known as the Chiefs' most dangerous weapon on offense and his presence on the field is obviously important for a team with a new coaching staff and personnel.
NFL teams have until July 16th to secure franchised players to new deals, otherwise they'll be playing out the 2012 season and become free-agents in 2013. The Kansas City Chiefs are one of those teams who have a decision to make on wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.
CBS Sports NFL Insider, Jason La Canfora has broken down players and teams facing this dilemma for the upcoming season and also gave odds on the likliihood of the player signing a long-term deal with their current team.
Here's what he had to say about Bowe whom he gives "weak" odds of signing a long-term deal in KC:
Bowe, who hasn't signed his tag, has done some special stuff with Matt Cassel, but how long will Cassel be running the show at quarterback? It certainly seems there could be more transition to come on the offensive side of the ball unless the overall productivity greatly spikes. Seeing how 2012 plays out and then making long-term decisions at quarterback and receiver could be a smart approach for the Chiefs, especially if some of their draft picks start to develop more rapidly.
There’s really no reason to wait at this point. The parameters for Dontari Poe’s contract have already been set due to the bookends of the contracts around him given to players taken at No. 10 and 12 in the 2012 NFL Draft. Now that Poe, taken at No. 11 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, is nearing training camp, the Chiefs are likely to work quickly to sign their new defensive tackle to his official rookie deal.
The hold-up to this point is unknown since the Chiefs worked quickly to get the rest of their draft class under contract shortly after the draft. Donald Stephenson, the team’s third round selection, was the last to sign on May 17. Since then, it’s been radio silence from the Chiefs regarding contracts for a player who practiced hard through OTAs despite the lack of official contract.
However there’s really no guesswork when it comes to Poe’s eventual deal. Last year, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans was the No. 11 overal pick and he signed a four year deal worth $11.23 million with a $6.67 million signing bonus. The Chiefs will increase this amount for Poe but it should not be too much higher than this figure.
For the 2012 bookends alluded to earlier, the Buffalo Bills picked Stephon Gilmore at No. 10 and Fletcher Cox was chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 12. Gilmore signed for 4 years at $12.1 million while Cox signed a four-year deal worth $10.24 million. Expect Poe to split that difference.
The hang-up could be a fifth year option that some teams are able to successfully negotiate. Gilmore, for example, has an option year with an amount that Albert Breer says will match the 2015 transition tag total for cornerbacks. Cox had no record of having that fifth year so perhaps that is the final hurdle for Poe and the Chiefs to clear.
If Poe turns out to be the franchise cornerstone in the middle, the extra year will make a significant difference down the road. While fans would love to see Poe get signed and the draft class officially signed and sealed, these are the days where contract particulars can make all of the difference down the road. In the end, Poe will sign by the time he needs to and the Chiefs will have their man in-house. There should be no doubt about that.
Kansas tight end Tim Biere realizes that he has an uphill battle ahead of him if he wants to make the Kansas City Chiefs roster. But the good news is that the local product has a few key elements working for him as he tries to make his NFL dream come true.
Most undrafted free agents end up going home at the end of the day. The luckiest will make a practice squad, perhaps after being cut once or twice. The best end up making the fringes of an NFL roster and actually breaking through. However those players are outliers and not the lived-out reality for most.
Biere spoke recently at the Chiefs mandatory mini-camp about his chances of making the Chiefs roster. He says he realizes that if he's going to stick, it's going to be through extra efforts to stand out and secure his own corner of the roster via special teams.
"I've made sure to open my eyes and see what they do and how they do it," Biere said of the elders at his position. "They've been around for a while, so I'm just trying to learn and do whatever the coaches need me to do - find a niche and play all the positions on special teams."
He says his experience at Kansas under Turner Gill gives him some flexibility that Scott Pioli seems to like out of his players.
"The first few years of college I was more of a blocker and then I was used as more of a receiver the last two years," Biere said. "I think versatile is kind of what I'm going for."
Dexter McCluster has been moving back and forth from running back to wide receiver for most of the relevant part of his football career. McCluster and where he fits in on the football field has been a head-scratching dilemma ever since he left Largo High for the University of Mississippi.
He doesn't have the size to be an every down back in the NFL, even though he certainly has the skill to produce there. And of course, McCluster hasn't played wide receiver consistently enough to really be considered one at this point.
So that's why Romeo Crennel gave him the task of learning how to become a receiver during the offseason, and through studying the patterns of Patriots receiver Wes Welker, it's safe to say McCluster is doing just that.
This quote via the Bright House Sports Network, Channel 47:
"... Lately, I've been watching a lot of (Patriots WR) Wes Welker. He's not that big, but he gets open. He's a competitor and you're going to see the same guy from play to play, game to game and I want to be that guy."
Kansas City and Arizona face each other in a preseason game on Aug. 10, right after those practice sessions. The practices come after the Cardinals' preseason opener Aug. 5 against the New Orleans Saints in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
"Training camp is about us continuing our development and evaluating our players," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. "We are very excited to be hosting another NFL team in St. Joseph. This will give us another opportunity to further evaluate our team under a different set of circumstances before we get into our preseason schedule."
Eric Berry was one of the most accomplished safeties in college football history at Tennessee, and he only bolstered his stellar reputation with a Pro Bowl season as a rookie in Kansas City.
Now, after missing almost the entire 2011 season with a knee injury, Berry's recovery is one of the keys for a Chiefs team trying to bounce back from an incredibly disappointing season. The good news for Kansas City fans is the 23-year old said he is "100% healthy" in a Sirius XM radio interview on Wednesday.
While there's no way to really know for sure until the season begins, ACL injuries are no longer career-killers like they once were and a one-year recovery is considered normal in many situations.
The real question is whether he has lost any of explosiveness in his knees, as the ability to stop and cut on a dime is crucial for defensive backs.
Many NFL teams are dealing with major decisions about what to do with key veterans at this stage of the offseason. Whether a general manager is dealing with disgruntled players like Matt Forte or Maurice Jones-Drew or it’s a player at a crossroads of a big money option like Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs, front offices are abuzz with the options they have.
CBS Sports Will Brinson broke down the potential holdout situations around the NFL recently and said that the Chiefs’ decision with Bowe looms as a sleeper situation to watch. The decision for the Chiefs is whether to offer him a long-term deal at big receiver money or let him play out the year under the franchise tag and watch him potentially walk in 2013.
"This is my sleeper for a potentially ugly holdout," said Brinson. "No one’s talking about Bowe wanting the money, but don’t you think he saw what guys like Pierre Garcon and Laurent Robinson got paid this offseason? And don’t you think he’s not happy about the possibility of a one-year deal? And don’t you think he knows how important he is to the Chiefs passing game? I’m telling you, sleeper situation for a nightmare here."
The team has Jon Baldwin as a first round choice in 2011 waiting in the wings as the next go-to receiver, but in today’s pass happy NFL, having two go-to guys is a good thing. Just ask the Arizona Cardinals who invested a first round choice on Michael Floyd of Notre Dame in this year’s NFL Draft despite already having Larry Fitzgerald. It’s not about replacing the veteran but adding another target to pull the attention away.
So far, the situation has been quiet and Brinson admits as much. But it’s clear that Bowe has not yet rid himself of his diva reputation despite his incredible performance and solid team-focused demeanor in recent seasons. The situation ahead will show everyone’s true colors.
The Kansas City Chiefs' official site has a video package featuring running backs coach Maurice Carthon talking about the rehab and return of running back Jamal Charles, who went down early in the 2011 season, with only 56 yards on 10 carries before tearing his ACL against the BIlls in Week One:
"One thing is to get Jamaal Charles back so he can be a part of that. As everybody knows, he was injured in the early part of the season and so we can get him back and start to run the ball like he did back then, I think we'll have a shot to be like he was in 2010."
Carthon also talked about the mental aspect of Charles' return, having missed practices and live game speed for over a year:
"Mentally, he's done a great job in the classroom every day when we have our meetings and everything like that. Then he's out here on the practice field during OTAs encouraging all of the guys, so that's a positive step in the right course for him. When I first came here, he was a young guy, but he's done a tremendous job with all of those things. He's a team leader and wants to get back to playing football."
In a recent Coach’s Corner interview at the Kansas City Chiefs official site, running backs coach Maurice Carthon sat down to discuss his thoughts on his position heading into the 2012 season. While the return of Jamaal Charles is the main order of business, the addition of Peyton Hillis is also a major addition to the team.
Carthon spoke highly of the former Cleveland Browns running back, and said he’s been a great fit not only on the field but in the classroom as well.
“He brings a part of that toughness running inside or running outside as well, but he’s been good also in the classroom,” said Carthon. “He’s been in this offense before, so he’s teaching and helping me and some of the younger guys learn this offense. That was a great pick for us to get him and our scouting department did a great job getting us someone like that. I think he’ll help us win this year.”
Hillis rushed for 587 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2011, one year after rushing for 11 touchdowns the year before. Both Hillis and Charles are hoping for new starts after a troubled 2011 season.
The Kansas City Chiefs have a crew of injured players that weren't able to participate in the offseason voluntary team activities and mandatory minicamp, but Monday is the day for many of them to undergo tests and hopefully receive medical clearance for training camp.
"They're all on the same timetable," Crennel said, via quotes sent out by the Chiefs. "They all have to get cleared on the 18th before they can be ready for training camp. If they get cleared, then we'll put them in training camp."
As Joel Thorman notes in that same post, these players are fortunate in having such a significant amount of time to recover from these injuries and return to form without missing too much.
Read more about the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Pride.
The Kansas City Chiefs will take a break from their Minicamp responsibilities on Friday to visit Joplin, Missouri, a city and community still recovering from an EF-5 tornado last year that destroyed over 7,000 residences.
Chiefs players will assist in the "Joplin-Habitat Challenge,"which features members of the Royals, Cardinals and Rams each helping to build homes in the area, as well as help from NASCAR drivers and the University of Missouri's student athletes.
"It was a big impact just to see those kids," WR Jonathan Baldwin remembered. "They were really excited to see us. To show our appreciation and that we actually care had a big impact on me."
Las season the Chiefs hosted a Joplin High School football game, as well as hosted several bottled water and relief supply drives at Arrowhead Stadium.
Several storylines are worth following within the Kansas City Chiefs mandatory mini-camp taking place this week. Some stories focus on the absence of Dwayne Bowe. Others on coaches in new places like Brian Daboll or Romeo Crennel. Even still, names like Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles are coming back from injury and working through rehab. But many eyes are also on Chiefs first round pick Dontari Poe as he adjusts to the NFL level.
If he can become a force at defensive tackle, the Chiefs could have a game-changing talent. However, the team also has a long line of bad investments along the defensive interior in the last decade through the draft. Thus Poe is being watched with a furrowed brow and quizzical eye much of the time.
However, the coaching staff are doing nothing but praising their first round choice so far. Even without an official contract, Poe is in camp doing whatever is asked of him. While everyone loved his workouts and athleticism at the NFL Combine, Crennel recently commented on other aspects of his personality he appreciates.
"Well, he's made progress," Crennel said when asked about Poe on Wednesday. "The thing that impresses me the most is not his natural ability, but the fact that he's trying to play the technique the way we play it. The way we play it is not always the easiest way to play it, so he's taking to coaching and executing the way we want him to execute. Like I said yesterday, we have to get the pads on to really be able to tell and find out, but he's taking steps in the right direction."
Analysts noted that Dontari Poe would have to step in and work hard on his technique to succeed at the NFL level. The early word is solid on Poe as he is allowing KC coaches to mold him in their image. He's certainly in great hands and could finally turn into the defensive anchor the Chiefs have lacked since Scott Pioli first arrived in 2009.
Brian Banks certainly makes for a nice story as a man finally freed after the injustice of being sentenced to prison for a rape he didn't commit and losing several years of his life to the ensuing punishment. Yet as many people as there are cheering for him to make a comeback to football, the reality of the level of competition in the NFL is going to be tough for Banks.
Banks worked out for the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday and was scheduled for Seattle again on Wednesday in his search for a potential NFL home. Romeo Crennel, the Chiefs head coach, gave a quick update from mini-camp today on Banks' workout with the team.
"It went good considering that he hasn't been playing football, but you can tell he has been working out. With football drills, he still remembers those things. I think the more workouts he can have with these different teams, the more it will come back to him. But it was a decent workout."
When asked whether the Chiefs would offer Banks a contract, Crennel quickly shied away.
"That's Scott. That's his job. I just coach the ones he brings me."
Specifically, Crennel said there are so many factors at work against a man who hasn't physically played the game for several years. No matter what sort of physical shape Banks might be in, that's not the only thing at work.
"Well, the game has changed quite a bit," said Crennel. "And then not having played, that's the biggest challenge. The level of competition, the skill of the guys he's going against and then the game itself has changed. It's a more wide open game. You have terminology issues you have to deal with, conditioning you have to deal with. All of those things make it tougher for him to be able to come back and just jump right in and make a good impact."
Martin Rucker signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in mid-May. Two weeks later, on June 1, he injured his knee. Two weeks after that, his hopes of playing for the Chiefs in 2012 were over when he was placed on Injured Reserve. It's a frustrating scenario for everyone involved -- from the team hoping Rucker could make an impact at a point of need for depth on the roster to a player excited to play near his home. Instead, Rucker has a long road of recovery ahead.
Rucker last played on an active roster in the 2010 NFL season, so his story was already a nice one coming out of Chiefs camp. He was on the practice squad for the Cowboys and Jaguars over the last two seasons, but the Chiefs needed some veteran depth at tight end given the current depth chart, and Romeo Crennel was familiar with Rucker's game from his time with the Cleveland Browns.
The Chiefs should now be expected to address the position with another veteran signing by training camp in August.
Veteran safety Abram Elam was a 16-game starter for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, and picked up - and off - where he left last season in his first day as a Chief. Elam, signed last week, played with the starters and intercepted quarterback Matt Cassel.
Elam, who had 64 tackles and a forced fumble for the Cowboys last year, is likely to see an extensive amount of time at safety during offseason work, as both Eric Berry (family issue) and Kendrick Lewis (torn pectoral) will miss minicamps. Romeo Crennel, still acting as the team's defensive coordinator while also serving as head coach, was impressed (quote courtesy of the Chiefs' official site):
"He is a smart young man that has been in different systems and that’s one of his strong suits that he can pickup and call defenses," Crennel said. "He has called the secondary in the past, so I think that will bode well for our situation because if the two guys we do have aren’t back, you can see out there that the young guys make mistakes."
Despite what appeared like perfect attendance at the start of Kansas City Chiefs offseason minicamp, the team still went on with practice without its star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was hit with the franchise tag earlier in offseason but has refused to sign it because he would prefer a long term deal.
With Crennel beginning his first full season as the Chiefs' head coach, he'd obviously like to have one of the best players on his roster at minicamp, becoming acclimated to the new regime. But the nature of the beast, in fact, is what it is.
This, via Arrowhead Pride:
"You like to have your good players with you because every year you have to develop a new team chemistry. So he's missing this opportunity to grow and develop with his teammates but there's nothing I can do about that. That's just the nature of the beast that we're dealing with. I think that he will be here eventually and when he gets here we'll try to catch him up. He'll have to work at it, get up to speed and then see if he can help us at that time."
Bowe has been consistent in saying he will be around for training camp, so that looks like the time he'll catch up with his teammates. Until then, Bowe is still looking for a better offer from the franchise.
Read more about the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Pride.
The word out of Kansas City Chiefs mini-camp this offseason is all about injuries -- both those recovering from past issues and those experiencing new ones. As Brandon Siler sets foot on the field for the first time today in offseason action, Chiefs rookie wide receiver Devon Wylie is reportedly out with a hamstring injury according to Josh Looney.
These sorts of injuries could linger, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Wylie out for a bit. However, these early practices are vital for players during the longer sessions allowed during the team's mandatory mini-camp, where teams get to see their players on-field much longer than OTAs under the new collective bargaining agreement. Giving Wylie time with the offense and special teams unit is key, but these things happen for every team.
"There is a two hour max of the on-field up-tempo," Crennel explained recently to the Chiefs official site. "You can complement what you use there with the walk-through. So, usually you're looking at an hour walk-through and an hour of up-tempo. But everything is in shorts. The walk-through, no helmets are allowed. You can have helmets on in your up-tempo."
In other news, Looney noted that Eric Berry is out today for personal reasons.
The Kansas City Chiefs continue their offseason training programs with a three-day mandatory mini-camp Tuesday, following 10 organized team activities that ended last week. This is head coach Romeo Crennel's first offseason program as head coach of the team, and he had this to say about mini-camp:
"It's the same deal," Crennel said. "We can have an extended walk-through. The length of time that you can have with them on the field gets extended, but part of it has to be a walk-through."
The new collective bargaining agreement limits total on-field time to 3.5 hours a day, while no individual practice may exceed 2.5 hours. Two-a-days are permitted at just two of the three practice days. Crennel goes on to explain a bit further:
"There is a two hour max of the on-field up-tempo," Crennel explained. "You can complement what you use there with the walk-through. So, usually you're looking at an hour walk-through and an hour of up-tempo. But everything is in shorts. The walk-through, no helmets are allowed. You can have helmets on in your up-tempo."
Even though the Chiefs have had close to perfect attendance at these offseason programs, star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe still remains unsigned as the squad's franchise player and is not required to attend these activities until he does sign.
Read more about the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Pride.
The Kansas City Chiefs have significantly changed the defensive backs on the roster this season, and the team’s secondary should have a new look in 2012 — for better or for worse. While some changes were necessary due to Brandon Carr leaving in free agency, Scott Pioli used the offseason to also strengthen the entire unit.
Brandon Carr has been replaced with Stanford Routt in a swap of free agents. Abram Elam was signed to bolster both safety spots. Eric Berry is coming back from season-ending surgery. Dequan Menzie was drafted as a nickel safety and slot corner hybrid.
Yet so little attention is being paid to Kendrick Lewis through all of this. Brandon Flowers is the cornerstone and Berry is the impact safety coming back. Carr and Routt had their fair share of attention for the movement around it all, but Lewis is the silent young starter in the dark. The Chiefs signed Elam as a back-up to both safety spots, and it’d be great if Lewis could keep things that way. Gary Horton of Scouts, Inc. believes Lewis is in for a jump in his performance based on last season’s results.
“After safety Eric Berry went down in the first game last season with an ACL injury, Lewis was forced to take on a bigger role on the back end of this defense,” said Horton. “He responded well with 60 tackles and three interceptions. He did finish the season with a shoulder problem that led to surgery, so he needs to come back healthy. But for a young guy he has surprisingly good ball skills and instincts, and with Berry back they could really be a good safety duo.”
From Tuesday to Thursday of this week, the Kansas City Chiefs will hold mandatory team mini-camps after recently finishing up voluntary organized team activities. The Chiefs already had their rookie camp in May, where first round draft choice Dontari Poe seems to have made a strong impression on leaders among the team.
It's going to be rough road though, because as we know, after OTAs comes mini-camp, and after that comes training camp. And nobody likes training camp, but it's where the contenders begin contending.
The rookie Poe is going to be constant highlighted story until Chiefs fans finally get to see him on the field.
For a more in-depth look at the Kansas City Chiefs head over to Arrowhead Pride.
Dontari Poe has a lot of work in front of him in the transition from the college ranks at Memphis to the pro level. As an interior defender, technique is everything and Poe will have to work hard every day to slowly learn the playbook, the schemes, how to work best with teammates and his opponents’ tendencies, among other things. But the Chiefs knew they would have an uphill climb with Poe when they drafted him. The reward, they believed, was worth the risk.
Poe was the No. 11 choice in the 2012 NFL Draft and he is a potential steal on paper. He outweighed most of his competition at defensive tackle in the draft by nearly 50 pounds and flashed agility and athleticism that few of them had as well. With three-down lineman potential, Poe was simply too good to pass up.
The good news is that Poe is earning high marks from his defensive line coach for his work ethic and willingness to dig into his studies. Anthony Pleasant seems quite pleased with his prodigy so far.
"It’s good to have a guy of that magnitude and size, you just have to work hard—which he has been doing," said Pleasant. "Coming from college to the pros is a big transition for him, so he’s learning how to play the technique. He is a unique type of player he just has to continue to work hard and push himself. Personally, I just emphasize him watching film, saying this is how you need to play and this is your technique."
If Poe can get the mental side of the game to the point where it’s automatic, then the Chiefs could have a game-changing talent on their hands on the inside. Haloti Ngata and Casey Hampton are similar players who free up the linebackers and ends around them to make plays as the pocket collapses or runners bounce to the outside. Poe has the potential to do the same.
Poe definitely has a long way to go, but so far, so good. Year one might not be a banner year by any means but even a year in which Poe shows he belongs will point to long-term dividends for the Chiefs in years to come.
According to a story on KCChiefs.com, tight end Martin Rucker from the University of Missouri could be facing season ending ACL surgery on his injured right knee. Martin injured himself last Friday during a goal line drill while participating in the Chiefs OTA workouts.
Romeo Crennel says that the fourth year tight end will seek a second opinion before opting for surgery
"He's going to get a second opinion on it and then he's going to make a decision about what he wants to do, but it doesn't look good overall." Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said following Thursday's OTA session.
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed quarterback Alex Tanney, as the esteemed Joel Thorman writes here at Arrowhead Pride. It was announced by the team on Tuesday morning that the 6-foot 4-inch, 220-pound Tanney would be joining the squad.
Tanney went undrafted this year out of Monmouth College, but did receive an invite to the Buffalo Bills rookie minicamp.
This, from Thorman:
Carrying four quarterbacks on the offseason roster makes plenty of sense considering the roster limit is now at 90 players. The addition of Tanney gives the Chiefs more options throughout the summer as they now have four players who can line up at quarterback.
But the real story with Tanney is that he's the trick-shot quarterback made famous by the YouTube video below:
Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey receive most of the headlines along the Kansas City Chiefs frontline. Like 'em or not, both players were top five choices in the NFL Draft, a high investment for any team. Year after year, both players are praised for their work against the run and questioned by more casual fans wondering where the sack totals are at.
But Jackson and Dorsey have held their own quite well against the run, and it's become quite difficult to find a player who is capable of helping defend both the pass and run along the defensive line. Thus teams often employ specialists and use them in specific situations. When a team finds a two-way player, they're usually locked up with a long-term deal. Perhaps that's why the Chiefs recently signed Amon Gordon for two years.
Gordon doesn't fit the bill of a defensive star. He's already 30-years-old. He had 23 tackles and two sacks last season for the Chiefs, the only sacks of his NFL career. After being drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, he's also bounced to the Broncos, Ravens, Titans, Seahawks, Eagles and Patriots before landing with the Chiefs. He's the very definition of a journeyman, so why would the Chiefs sign him for more than a single season?
Some players bloom late. Some simply need the right scheme. Whatever the reason why Gordon hasn't caught on with another team, it speaks to his work ethic and determination that he's still in the NFL at this point. And it's a credit to the Chiefs coaching staff that they've gotten the value out of him that they have. While he doesn't grab the attention of a high investment like Dorsey or Jackson, Gordon has won over the coaching staff and front office with the versatility to play along the line.
"Anytime you have a guy like Amon that's athletic and can have that type of ability where he can rush the passer and he can play the run, that's the ideal player that you like to have," said defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant. "It's so hard to find that type of player, so once you get a player like that, he's a special type of guy. The way that the league is going now, it's all about scoring. You want to have a guy that can stop the run but can also rush the passer."
The Chiefs now have the deepest defensive line since Scott Pioli first arrived in Kansas City in 2009. With Dorsey and Jackson on the edge, Dontari Poe in the middle and versatile players like Allen Bailey and Gordon among others, the Chiefs can, simply put, do more with more. Finding, developing and hanging on to players like Gordon might not make the headlines, but it's the sort of smart, tactical moves that the best front offices seem to make year after year.
After wearing a Kansas City Chiefs uniform in his first four seasons as an NFL player, free agent defensive end Wallace Gilberry has landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as multiple outlets have reported.
Gilberry played 50 games at Alabama before entering the league undrafted in 2008. The New York Giants signed him to their practice squad briefly, but the Chiefs picked Gilberry up before the season began.
The team reported both Gilberry and Mitchell agreed to one-year deals with the Bucs. To make room on the roster, the Buccaneers released defensive end Hilee Taylor and waived rookie defensive tackle Myles Wade.
The Chiefs have made obvious moves to shake up their defense through the draft and free agency.
Chiefs announced that the club has signed free agent safety Abram Elam.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 4, 2012
Elam is a 30-year-old who came into the league undrafted in 2005 out of Kent State. Since then, he's made two stints with the Dallas Cowboys, and spent time with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns as well.
Elam has only missed one start in the last three seasons. With the Cowboys in 2011, he had 68 tackles and forced one fumble. The signing of Elam gives the Chiefs more depth with their defensive backs, an area that could certainly use a bit of shaking up.
The columns declaring the offseason winners and losers have already been written. The free agents who signed before the NFL Draft received all of the attention and acclaim. Yet the signing announced today for the Kansas City Chiefs in safety Abram Elam is on par with nearly anything the team has done yet this offseason, even if it stays out of the spotlight relative to others.
Peyton Hillis was applauded. Stanford Routt was the first to join in 2012. Eric Winston was called the biggest prize of all. All three alongside Kevin Boss and Brady Quinn were hailed by most NFL analysts as key to a great offseason for the Chiefs front office. The roster is stronger and positions of need and depth were addressed. But one position remained untouched despite the need for an additional veteran.
Safety was an position of concern for the team last season due to the season-ending injury to Pro Bowler Eric Berry. Kendrick Lewis was also banged up in week 13 against the Chicago Bears, and he also underwent shoulder surgery just after the season was over. That left the team perilously thin and led to significant playing time for both Sabby Piscitelli (2 starts in 2011) and Donald Washington (3 starts). The front office simply had to do something to alleviate the dropoff in talent from the starting duo to the next level.
Enter Abram Elam. The Dallas Cowboys started Elam every single game last year and he started 31 of 32 games for the Cleveland Browns in the two seasons prior. That's 47 total starts in three years that the Chiefs are bringing in with the signing of Elam. He's a solid tackler and can defend both the run and the pass and Romeo Crennel will certainly know how to use him.
With the addition of Dequan Menzie in the NFL Draft as a new nickel safety and slot corner hybrid, the Chiefs have definitely helped invigorate the second level on the depth chart at a position that was perilously thin. Wonderful late addition for the Kansas City Chiefs and Scott Pioli
It wasn't so long ago that a running back was expected to carry the load for an NFL team at all times, racking up incredible amounts of rushing yards while also piling on the carries. Yet in the diversified world of today's NFL, specialists are the name of the game and a franchise's running game likely has at least two or three backs essential for the offense. For the Kansas City Chiefs, it's down to Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis.
The team has taken the tandem approach ever since installing Charles as their featured back. Charles' slight frame made the team limit his carries early in his career and Thomas Jones was the perfect bruising complement who also added a needed veteran presence for what was largely a young, inexperienced offense.
Now Hillis is the new power back, a free agent signing from this offseason intended to bolster the Chiefs' running game and help insure production if Charles is not yet fully healthy. Given his familiarity with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Hillis should be able to do everything he was brought in to do.
"I think this is going to work out magnificently," Hillis said about his a tandem possibility in the backfield with Charles. "We complement each other really well ... He's a tremendous running back with lots of speed and I think I'm a decent back who brings some power. I think it will work well."
Charles is the team's best offensive playmaker, and no one will question whether or not he'll be the featured piece in most offensive schemes. However, Charles also realizes how important it is to have that complement.
"I feel like he's the same as Thomas Jones," Charles said. "He's going to come in and get all the tough yards and all the power and I feel like that was the same thing when Thomas was here. If he can contribute to the team and put points on the board, why not?"
Last year, Charles was lost for the year due to an ACL injury but there's no doubt about his big play ability. Hillis also endured a year filled with drama and frustrations in 2011 so both players are strong bounce back candidates. The Chiefs certainly hope so since they're placing their future hopes in their hands.
The Kansas City Chiefs have installed an interesting system along the offensive line in the last few years since Scott Pioli took over as general manager. In their hopes of not only bolstering the offensive line but replacing aging veterans with capable younger options, the team has put in an unofficial apprenticeship, of sorts, to help college players adjust to the NFL level.
Rodney Hudson was the second round choice of the Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft, and he sat for a year behind longtime starter and NFL iron man Casey Wiegmann. Now that Wiegmann is a likely candidate to retire, or at least not to return to KC in a starting role, Hudson will be taking over.
He saw some level in 16 games and enhanced his versatility, but he also had the chance to take in Wiegmann’s game for an entire NFL season before taking over. Now he’s ready to man the middle for the Chiefs offensive front. From the sound of things, it looks like the approach worked well.
"One of the things that we wanted to see is what kind of command that he would take of the offensive line," Crennel told reporters in Kansas City on Friday. "It looks like he’s doing a nice job of it because he’s been asked to (identify) the (middle linebacker) and re-ID on front. He seems to be handling that pretty well. I think that group is working well together. I think that they’re developing that chemistry that you want on your offensive line. So, he’s doing well."
Crennel complimented Hudson quite a bit in interviews and it’s likely that Chiefs fans are going to like their new center for quite some time given the praise coming from Crennel.
"He’s a smart kid, and he’s a competitive kid," Crennel said. "They worked with him a little bit at center (at Florida State). We just felt like he had the tangibles and the intangibles to do it. He’s got to be tough, he’s got to be smart. In looking at him, we felt he had the center’s body type. Sometimes you’ll say, ‘We’ll try this guy.’ Last year we were able to work him at center a little bit and guard a little bit, and we felt like he could be a center so he’s going to do it full time now."
The team just drafted Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson in the second and third rounds this year, so it’s possible that Allen is on the same track behind Ryan Lilja. Stephenson is a swing tackle behind Branden Albert and Eric Winston at left and right tackle respectively. It will be interesting to see whether the Chiefs use those players for depth or whether there’s a replacement plan in the works at other positions.
The Kansas City Chiefs made their fans a public promise in the beginning of the 2012 offseason. They said they were going to make the team more competitive at multiple positions, but the front office specifically mentioned the quarterback position as one of note. Matt Cassel, in short, was given notice that he was on a short leash.
Immediately Chiefs Nation believed that the team would sign a free agent to compete with Cassel for the starting spot. After going down for the second half of 2011, life without Cassel was a mess at first for the team. Tyler Palko started four disastrous games for the Chiefs that likely cost them their second division title in a row and Todd Haley’s job. Cassel was already having a poor season, but at least he was light year’s better than the next guy on the roster.
Enter Kyle Orton. Orton was signed after being claimed on waivers from the Denver Broncos and he ended up winning two of the last three games for the Chiefs, including one at Denver to close the season and a major win over the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers. It gave Romeo Crennel a permanent title instead of an interim one, but it also gave Chiefs fans hopes that Orton could be the new guy.
Alas that was not to be, not when the Dallas Cowboys come calling with $5 million per year for a back-up slot. Chad Henne was quickly snatched up by the Jags, as was Jason Campbell by the Bears. The already-slim quarterback market was suddenly gone since the Chiefs were never real players for Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn (despite their wishes to the contrary with Peyton).
Instead the team upgraded at several other spots and threw in a low-key signing of Brady Quinn in the mix alongside Eric Winston and Peyton Hillis The 2012 NFL Draft also came and went and not a single quarterback was taken or even brought in after the fact. A short-lived rookie mini-camp with former Hampton quarterback David Legree was the only sign of anyone knew under center for the Chiefs besides Quinn.
But the Chiefs depth chart is not only Cassel and Quinn. They might occupy the top two spots, but RIcky Stanzi is still sitting there, as fresh as he was on draft day in 2011 when he was announced as the team’s fifth round choice. He never got a snap last season despite the fact that a fan contest could have found a better candidate than Palko. Haley was handcuffed, for whatever reason, to Palko and he lost his job because of it. Orton came in too soon for the team to turn to Stanzi.
The phrase "next man up" exists in NFL circles because the thought is that, as a player, you’re only an injury away from having your chance in the spotlight. Quarterbacks, like anyone else, have to be ready to play at a moment’s notice. Except that rule did not apply for Stanzi. Somehow he was glossed over for a strange back-up an then a free agent signing.
Surprisingly the Chiefs know just a slight touch more about Stanzi now as they did a year ago when they signed him. The NFL lockout cost him significant time with coaches and the playbook, and Haley’s stubbornness took care of the rest. He is the mystery on the team and perhaps he’s the answer to what the team promised in the first place .
The Chiefs are now finally making their move in recent OTAs, allowing Stanzi to get reps in camp to see what he can do. And it looks like the move is paying off.
"I think the reps aren’t really a huge deal right now," said Stanzi about taking snaps with the second unit. "We’re switching on and off with the twos and the threes. The way the reps are cut up, it just happened to fall that way. You can talk about it a lot but it’s nice to actually go out there and rep it out and see some different situations come up and different plays that can be called. You can learn a lot by putting it on tape."
Stanzi might downplay his reps with the second team, but it’s the kind of practice that the team needs to see. Scott Pioli is quoted by Michael Holley in the book War Room as asking certain questions of each new acquisition in the NFL Draft: who will this player replace on our current roster? Perhaps that was asked of several players this year only to realize that no one graded out high enough to not give Stanzi a chance.
Josh Looney writes in today’s OTAs notebook at the Chiefs official site, "The Chiefs have yet to declare a primary backup to starter Matt Cassel and the handling of backup quarterbacks during OTAs suggest the team wants a training camp competition."
The Chiefs already stated they wanted a competition at quarterback and apparently things did not work personnel wise to put any real pressure on the number one spot. However, that doesn’t mean that Stanzi will not get the chance to impress and don the No. 2 position on the depth chart. While it’s likely a pipe dream that Stanzi could supplant Cassel anytime soon, if he can strengthen the overall position in 2012, it’s a step forward.
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of several teams pursuing free agent LB Brian Banks, a former blue chip high school recruit who was recently released from jail after being falsely accused of rape almost a decade ago:
Rick Reilly has his incredible story, but the short version is that Banks was a USC commit who served more than five years in jail after agreeing to plea bargain a rape accusation from a high-school classmate. Now, after she contacted him and admitted to fabricating the whole story, he's trying for a second chance in football.
Banks, only 25 years old, is still in excellent physical shape. According to his trainer, he's 6'2 245 and runs a 4.6 40, the type of measurements which will make scouts take notice, regardless of his background.
If he is able to make an NFL roster, in Kansas City or anywhere else, he will undoubtedly be one of the feel-good stories of 2012.
For more on the Chiefs off-season plans, check out Arrowhead Pride.
Glenn Dorsey is entering the final year of his contract. With his restructured deal, Tyson Jackson is essentially in the same position. Both of the Kansas City Chiefs starting defensive ends in their base defense are in what should be considered contract seasons, and while the spotlight will be on each and how they perform in 2012, it's also interesting to see what the Chiefs have in potential replacements. Allen Bailey is definitely one to watch on that list.
The Chiefs drafted Bailey out of Miami (Fl.) in the third round in 2011, and it was clear by year's end that Romeo Crennel was learning how to use him well. Bailey often looked as good as anyone along the line in sub-package sets and he's likely to see increased time in 2012.
"Chiefs DE Allen Bailey is expected to see an expanded role this season after coming off the bench for most of his rookie year," writes Pro Football Weekly. "Bailey can play either left or right end and will rotate in as a pass-rushing replacement for starters Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey. With both Jackson and Dorsey nearing the end of their contracts, Bailey could be in line for a starting job in 2013 if he proves himself this coming season."
Last year, Bailey had 10 tackles and one sack, but no end in the Chiefs 3-4 set is going to earn major stats as a pass rusher. Bailey was earning praise last season and it's likely that he factors heavily into the Chiefs future plans at the position and what they might do with Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson.
The Chiefs, of course, could use all three players if possible. Every NFL defensive line needs several rotational players, so it's not as if a player has to go. But given the high price tag of keeping all parties involved, it might force a bit of turnover along the line. At the very least, Bailey's presence gives the Chiefs a salve to consider as they look at a future with or without both Jackson and Dorsey.
The wide receiver position is one of the most interesting positions on the Kansas City Chiefs roster to try to predict. In an ideal situation, the Chiefs are as stacked as most teams in the NFL. In a nightmare scenario, the whole thing could fall apart. A major component of the success of the wideout corps is the development of Jon Baldwin into a potential No. 1 receiver.
Dwayne Bowe is out, for now, away from OTAs since he's yet to sign the franchise tender and report to the Chiefs voluntary workouts. It's likely that the first sighting of Bowe in the offseason is going to be training camp one way or another. It's a remote possibility that Bowe is traded before the season starts, but given the state of the Chiefs offense, trading away the most predictable producer on the team makes little sense heading into 2012. In short, Bowe should be a Chief in 2012.
Bowe should anchor a corp that is complete. Jon Baldwin was the team's No. 1 draft choice in 2011, and the team hopes he develops into the vertical red zone target that he was projected to be coming out of Pitt. Combined with Steve Breaston, Dexter McCluster and Devon Wylie among receivers and Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki among tight ends, the Chiefs have numerous targets for Matt Cassel. But the Chiefs will need impact, go-to receivers in crunch time, and that's where Baldwin can help the most.
"Every day you gotta build," said Baldwin from OTAs recently. "You watch a lot of film. I'm studying defenses to see what teams like to do, what kind of teams they are, how cornerbacks play, their linebackers, and what different zones and drops they do. Knowing all of those things is a little better than last year. With where OTAs are at, it's a big stepping stone and I'm looking forward to it."
Baldwin is going to need the time in camp after an abbreviated rookie season. He broke his wrist in an alleged locker room fight with veteran running back Thomas Jones, and didn't make his regular season debut until late October. The NFL also kept all rookies out of any workouts or sessions with coaches after last year's draft due to the 2011 NFL lockout. That means that Baldwin was far behind what the Chiefs would have hoped in his first season -- partly due to circumstances beyond his control.
It's not surprising, then, to hear Baldwin only talking about the little things when asked in interviews about the larger picture. When asked about Dwayne Bowe's absence in camp and whether or not that presented an opportunity, Baldwin took the veteran way out and refused to comment on anything but political talking points.
"Regardless [of Dwayne Bowe's absence], I'm going to continue to do the best that I can do. I don't know anything about that, so I'm just going to do what I have to do and keep helping this team the best that I possibly can."
The Chiefs are going to need Baldwin to take that step forward in year two to help the offense succeed and to show them what they have in house as they make decision on Bowe's future. Thus far, he's saying and doing the right things.
"It's building a stepping stone. You gotta get better every day. That's the main thing we want to do is continue to build up and get better every day."
The Kansas City Chiefs can only hope that Jamaal Charles is an accurate predictor of his own circumstances right now. Even though he's coming off of an ACL injury that required surgery and rehab all offseason, the All Pro running back says he's still the fastest player on the Chiefs.
I don't know if its good or bad but I feel like I'm still the fastest on my team after my ACL surgery... "TRUE"- 2 Chainz— Jamaal Charles (@jcharles25) May 27, 2012
The Chiefs are going to need him to be the kind of playmaker he was before the injury if they are going to handle the rest of the AFC West and make a move in the playoffs. The Chiefs added some better pass protection and offensive help this offseason, but there's no doubting the best player on the field is still Charles. When he's truly on, he's among the very best in the NFL.
If the Kansas City Chiefs are going to make noise in the revamped AFC West, they're going to need to stay healthy. They're also going to need to score a lot of points to keep up with Philip Rivers' Chargers and Peyton Manning's Broncos.
Fortunately for Kansas City, it looks like their best offensive weapon will be ready to go for training camp. Jamaal Charles, who tore his ACL early last season, is on track to be healthy to start the 2012 season. In fact, the Chiefs apparently have "no concerns" over Charles' recovery.
Chris Mortensen reported on ESPN 32 late Friday that the Chiefs have "no concerns whatsoever" about Charles' readiness for the 2012 season. Though Charles won't practice until training camp, his absence from OTAs is purely a precaution. The Chiefs have held fellow ACL patients Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki out of spring practices, too.
It's certainly excellent news for the Chiefs and Chiefs fans that Charles is recovering so well. Kansas City will need him to be at full strength as they look to return to the playoffs in 2012.
For more on the Chiefs, be sure to check out Arrowhead Pride and join the discussion.
For the last decade, Bobby Sippio has tried to parlay his wide receiver skills into a career of some kind. Instead, he’s bounced from team to team, and even football league to football league, trying to make a go of it. His most recent venture with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League might be his last with the news that he’s been arrested on charges of attempted murder.
Now 31, the former Kansas City Chiefs receiver allegedly kidnapped and assaulted his roommate, Sergio Moore, and threatened to kill him. According to Moore, Sippio picked him up with an accomplice under the guise of helping him move. Instead, he was locked in the car and beaten. From the Orlando Sentinel:
Instead, Sippio pulled a gun out of the center console, Moore told investigators. Moore tried to open the door and the windows, but they apparently had been locked on the driver’s side. Sippio drove to a rural section of Osceola County off Poinciana Boulevard — Sippio is a former Osceola High School Kowboys quarterback — and forced Moore out of the car in a pasture off Oren Brown Road, a sheriff’s report states.
There, Coats and the 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound Sippio punched and kicked Moore and Coats pointed the gun at him, he told deputies. Sippio told Moore that his sister could not save him, a sheriff’s report states. After the beating, Coats and Sippio continued to terrorize Moore with the gun as they drove him home, according to deputies. Sippio and Moore are roommates, investigators said.
Sippio has also been in training camp with the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions among many other professional teams.
Are the Kansas City Chiefs going to feature Dexter McCluster? Are they going to trade him? Is there a place for him? Will he become a central part of the offense? No one seems to know what the Chiefs will do with the former second round draft choice, especially after the Chiefs drafted players for depth who fit McCluster’s profile at both wide receiver and running back in the 2012 NFL Draft with Devon Wylie and Cyrus Gray.
Yet so far in the offseason workouts for the Chiefs, McCluster is getting time at wide receiver and earning kudos from the coaching staff.
"We’ve given Dexter reps at the wide receiver position in this new offense because we feel like he knows how to play running back and we can put him over at running back at any point in time, but we felt like he needed the work at wide receiver," head coach Romeo Crennel explained. "Probably what that will do is open it up for us to be able to use him however and whenever. We need him at whatever position. He’s taken to it really well. He’s been enthusiastic about it, so that is working out pretty well for us."
McCluster says he’s taking it all in stride, doing what is necessary to become a better player.
"I’m learning everything that I can learn," McCluster said. "Whenever you are asked to do something in this sport, you go out and do it. Coach Daboll is a guy with a winning attitude that knows the ins-and-outs of running a successful offense and I think he’s going to put us in the right situations to be successful."
McCluster rushed 114 times for 516 yards and caught another 46 passes for 328 yards in 2012.
Three Kansas City Chiefs players didn't practice on Thursday due to injuries.
Gray and Menzie are out with hamstring injuries, while Allen could have a foot or ankle injury.
Arrowhead Pride has comments from head coach Romeo Crennel, which were released by the Chiefs:
"I really don't have a timetable because the injuries are different for different players, and they heal differently. Basically, Cyrus has missed all week. Jeff missed two days. So, after this long weekend and a weekend of treatment, we'll see where they are. Like I said, hopefully we can get them back on the field next week."
He followed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan from Cleveland to Dallas last season, and his familiarity with Ryan's scheme allowed him to walk in as a starting safety for the Cowboys. In 16 games, he had 68 tackles and 1 forced fumble.
However, he didn't have a single pass deflection or interception for a Dallas secondary that was repeatedly burned in the final weeks of the season and was one of the main culprits for the Cowboys end-of-year collapse.
But while he may no longer be a top-tier NFL starter, he could provide veteran depth and leadership at the safety position.
The Kansas City Chiefs were hit hard last season by injuries to several key players. It's important for the team to be healthy in 2012 to make a run at the AFC West title, as expected, so news that even newer contributors like Jeff Allen are dealing with injuries does not bode well for the Chiefs.
#Chiefs OTA workout open to the media today, draft pick OL Jeff Allen in a walking boot not practicing today.— 610 Sports Radio- KC (@610SportsKC) May 24, 2012
Perhaps it's nothing or even a precautionary act, but injuries (and hopefully the lack of them) is going to be the primary story for the Chiefs offseason through the rest of the summer. Questions will have to be answered about the recovery and rehab of players like Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles among others. Adding names to that list will only further complicate matters and muddy the Chiefs' chances to contend.
The roster is better than ever in Scott Pioli's tenure, but a team can only do so much when dealing with injuries. Here's hoping Allen is not seriously injured since he's a key component along the offensive front heading into not only 2012 but far beyond.
Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis are present at Kansas City's OTAs, but still are recovering from injuries.
We had a few special guests on Chop Talk this week from around the AFC West in an all-SB Nation show. Joining us this week were Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride, John Genarro of Bolts from the Blue, and Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride. Each of these editors shared their thoughts on the AFC West and how the division could be shaping up this season. Although we are months away from any actual football being played it's never too early to get some predictions on the division this coming season.
I think they (Chargers) had a really good free agency, but they also lost a ton of talent. It's hard to lose a guy like Vincent Jackson, who was probably Philip Rivers biggest weapon along with Antonio Gates, who has been injured so much recently. From Vincent Jackson to Robert Meachem, I think that's a pretty big downgrade, but I think the Chargers are a lot like the Broncos and Chiefs, they're going to be right there and as long as they have Philip Rivers, they're going to be competitive.
I will completely agree with Joel on this one regarding Vincent Jackson. While I would have scoffed at the idea had the Chargers decided to pay Jackson the kind of money that the Buccaneers did, but I'm happy he's out of the division and one-less big time weapon for Rivers. The bottom line is that Rivers is still a good quarterback and that right there is enough to always give you a chance to be in the thick of the race.
This is the typical AJ Smith team where if everything goes right it could be amazing, but if it doesn't go right there could be problems. They brought in Robert Meachem, who can probably come in and produce for Vincent Jackson at about 75% of that level, and then they brought in Eddie Royal to be a 3/4 wide receiver that they really lacked last year.
I think Robert Meachem is a good player, but I don't think he's the kind of player that you have to game plan a defense around stopping him. Vincent Jackson is a bonafide No. 1 wide receiver that you couldn't gamble on leaving him in one-on-one coverage. I don't think Meachem commands that kind of respect. But with Philip Rivers throwing him the ball I still expect him to have a good season.
This is the toughest division in football right now. You've got four teams that all got better in the off-season. A lot depends on Peyton Manning's health, I personally think that he's fine. With that being the case I see the Broncos, as much as I hate to say it, and I think I just vomited in my mouth, they'll win the AFC West.
I don't think we'll get an accurate gauge on Manning's health until the day after he's taken a big hit. I am anxious to know how his body responds to that kind of force that you know he won't be subjected to until the season. But I will agree with Levi in that the Broncos should be the favorite to win the division if nothing else than they won it last year. I thought we were the favorites to win the division last year and until someone else takes that title away from you, it's yours.
These were just a few of the small bits from each guest on the show and if you want to listen to the show in its' entirety, just follow this link. Each guest was on for about 30 minutes.
The Kansas City Chiefs appear to be far from finished making moves this offseason. They have added yet another player to their roster.
Weaver (6-2, 220) transferred to Syracuse in 2010 after Hofstra eliminated its football program. Prior to his time with Syracuse, Weaver played three seasons with the Pride. His career numbers include 26 games played, 141 receptions for 1,504 yards (10.6 avg.) and nine touchdowns. While at Hofstra, he led the team in receptions in 2009 and earned second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors in 2008 after leading the Pride in receptions, punt return and kickoff return average and all purpose yards. Born in Long Island, N.Y., Weaver prepped at Baldwin High School, where he served as a team captain.
The team will be hoping that Weaver can impress in the months leading up to the 2012 season and provide additional depth at wideout.
Kansas State safety Tysyn Hartman wasn’t drafted in the seven rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft, but he did receive an invite as an undrafted free agent to join the team closest to his alma mater: the Kansas City Chiefs. Drafted or not, Hartman is ready to make his NFL dreams come true at the next level.
Hartman recently took part in the Chiefs rookie-minicamp along with the Chiefs draftees and several tryout players. Now he’s at OTAs with the rest of the Chiefs’ veteran core.
"It was fun," said Hartman. "You’re just glad the Kansas City organization gave you the opportunity to come out here. Of course you have to keep working hard to improve. They threw us in the fire during rookie minicamp and fortunately, I came out of that alive. Now things are sinking in."
Hartman was one of the better safeties in college football last season for K-State, and the team he’s trying out for can certainly use another playmaker at the position. The Chiefs lost Eric Berry for the season last year and Kendrick Lewis had offseason surgery. The secondary as a whole has been thin in recent seasons, and the team drafted Dequan Menzie from Alabama in the fifth round to help that.
However, Menzie is a versatile player who can also play corner. There’s still room for another safety or two if a player contributes can contribute in multiple ways. Veteran Donald Washington is also in the mix, as is cornerback Travis Daniels. Other hopefuls include Terrance Parks and Kyle McCarthy.
The Kansas City Chiefs have opened up OTAs like many other teams around the NFL, and as players return to Arrowhead, they're going to find some things familiar while other things have changed. For the offense, a new offensive scheme is in place for 2012 as Brian Daboll brings in his system for Matt Cassel and company.
For a player familiar with Daboll, the work is a bit less than what other players will have to put in. However, new running back Peyton Hillis says it will be worth it in the end for everyone based on what he believes Daboll can do in terms of mismatches.
"It was good coming in and already knowing the playbook," said Hillis. "When you know what you're doing, you're faster when you do it. He (Daboll) knows how to create mismatches for me out of the backfield, and then at the receiver spot. He's really good with the quarterbacks too. It's been pretty laid back for me, just helping the guys get to know the playbook and get things going. It's good for me, and it's good for the other teammates in the room with me because I can help them out."
Eric Winston is another outsider now starting for the Chiefs who will have to learn a new offensive system under Daboll. The good news is that the zone blocking scheme isn't that far off of what he played in Houston.
"I'm about right where everyone else is (in learning the offense)," said Winston. "The good part is there are a lot of outside zone (blocking) schemes, and obviously I'm familiar with those from my days in Houston. But at the end of the day,it's not complicated. You just need to know how to block the guy in front of you."
Daboll certainly enjoyed a nice second half of the season in Miami last year once he got to know the offensive personnel. He definitely has a number of weapons here to work with in Kansas City. and this is where the work in the playbook and film study is so important in the offseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs went through their first OTA practice Monday, but worked without seven of their players due to injury, and a few who missed significant time last season.
This was the observation from Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star from Chiefs practice.
Seven players did not practice because of injury: Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Brandon Siler, DeQuan Menzie and Rob Bruggeman. Charles, Moeaki, Berry and Siler missed all or most of last season. Lewis had off-season shoulder surgery. Menzie (hamstring) and Bruggeman (finger) have lingering injuries from the recent rookie camp.
Teicher reported that McCluster may still play some running back, but for right now he is a receiver. The Chiefs have had trouble figuring out what to do with McCluster since taking him with the 36th overall pick a couple of years ago. He's made the switch to receiver before, but has switched back.
This was Teicher's observation, among others:
Dexter McCluster may still play some at running back, but for now he's a wide receiver. McCluster worked exclusively with the receivers. McCluster was also first in line when the Chiefs returned punts. That line also featured Javier Arenas, Steve Breaston and Devon Wylie.
As Fox Sports takes a closer look at the players from each NFL team they believe will break out, the Kansas City Chiefs have an injury return as their candidate. The Chiefs certainly hope they are correct in identifying Tony Moeaki as a breakout possibility since that will mean great things about the offense.
Denny Medley writes, “Moeaki was set to become Kansas City’s most dangerous receiving threat at tight end since Tony Gonzalez after a 47-catch rookie season in 2010. Moeaki, though, missed all of the 2011 campaign after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason finale. A healthy Moeaki is expected to play a major role in an offense that also will benefit from the return of running back Jamaal Charles (knee) from injured reserve.”
Moeaki certainly has the look of a Pro Bowl tight end, but durability concerns are the only thing holding him back. He can do all things on at least an above-average level, but he has also shown the flashes to be something truly special in 2012 and beyond if he can hold up.
Moeaki had 47 catches for 556 yards and 3 catches in his rookie season of 2011.
Now that Todd Haley is gone, some old faces can come back to the building. After only one year with the Kansas City Chiefs, former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left to take the same position back at the college level with the Florida Gators. Now he's the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks after Turner Gill was fired. It's been a roller coaster for the last few years for Weis, but it's clear he's now welcome back at Arrowhead now that Haley is gone.
Just got back from Chiefs OTA. Very encouraging. Sad news on Bill Stewart. He was a nice man and excellent coach. Grades in. Much improved.— Coach Charlie Weis (@CoachWeisKansas) May 21, 2012
Apparently Weis was back visiting old friends from his days in New England since Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli and Brian Daboll are all in house. Weis also likely knows several players from his stint here in 2010. It was rumored that he and Haley butted heads, leading to his exit after one season, but it was a memorable one for the Chiefs offense in which even Matt Cassel made the Pro Bowl.
As for Stewart, the former West Virginia football coach died suddenly today from a heart attack.
While the Kansas City Chiefs have brought in a number of important free agent signings and an entire draft class, perhaps no addition is more important than the return of Eric Berry to the defensive unit after missing the 2011 season due to injury. An impact rookie in 2010, the Chiefs definitely missed his incredible skill set last season despite their defensive success.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Farzin Vousoughian, Berry recently sat down to discuss his rehab and other aspects of the Chiefs offseason. The best phrase to describe his mood seems to be cautiously optimistic.
"Everything is good," said Berry. "Everything is 100 [percent]. Right now we are just taking it slow in OTAs just to make sure nothing crazy happens or any freak accidents happen but everything is good. I'm just excited to be back out there."
As for the Chiefs changes at head coach, Berry sounded pleased with the team's choice to go with Romeo Crennel.
"I think it's going to be good," said Berry. "Romeo is a fair guy and he keeps his word. We are going to play hard for him. The passion he brings to the game everyday, day in, day out, we feed off that. We try to bring that energy everyday and try to perform and do better everyday and get better."
As for the Chiefs offseason moves, Berry was distant to say anything about a subject he has no control over.
"I trust those guys. They go in and study who they need to pick up and who is going to make us better. I let them do their job and whoever they bring in, it is our job to just make them feel at home. We also help to get them acclimated to the new system and make sure they are comfortable to where they can perform. That is what we try to do."
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe showed up to the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles and Joel Thorman had the opportunity to hold a conversation with him after the Chiefs' seemed to sign a record number of autographs out there.
Bowe assured Thorman that he would be in a Chiefs uniform when the season begins, despite having yet signed his franchise tender. Bowe also confirmed that he would be participating in the team's training camp. Check out the full interview transcribed in the link above.
This was one of Bowe's responses to whether he's been staying in shape during the offseason.
"It's money time. It's time to win. No days off. If you want to go to the 'ship, everyone has to have the same attitude and have no days off and go hard as you can until the wheels stop rolling."
For a more in-depth look at the Chiefs, head over to Arrowhead Pride.
Perhaps the biggest question mark heading into the 2012 regular season for the Kansas City Chiefs is about Matt Cassel as the starting quarterback. After a middling first three seasons under center for the Chiefs, this is a big year for Cassel. The Chiefs publicly stated they were ready to provide more competition for him as the starter, but signing Brady Quinn has been the only personnel move at the position.
But Cassel sounds quite confident and excited heading into the new year. Perhaps he should be with returning offensive weapons like Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles along with an enhanced offensive line and several new faces. Eric Winston, Kevin Boss and Peyton Hillis certainly make the offensive unit better than it's been in recent seasons.
Speaking recently with Steve Wyche, Cassel detailed his offseason and said he's approaching things differently to get healthy and ready.
"My health's great and my hand's healed up now," said Cassel. "This offseason has been a big offseason for me because I've just been so eager to get back and get going with these guys. I've been working out a lot earlier than I normally would be after a normal season. It's been a good experience for me."
When asked about what it will take for him to take his game to the next level, Cassel spoke with confidence.
"The thing is, for me, I feel like I'm there. I feel like I'm part of that group. It's always going to be a team effort. For the Kansas City Chiefs, it doesn't come down to one player. It's always about the team concept. If we can go out there, execute, play good football, we're going to be competitive with anybody."
Even with a slew of injuries, the Chiefs finished within a game of the division lead. Despite the arrival of Peyton Manning in Denver, Cassel believes the team can win as long as they limit mistakes.
"I think for us it's about playing mistake-free football," he said. "For us offensively it's about eliminating the negative football. We were in a lot of those games. Like you said, we finished 7-9. We weren't one of those teams that finished 3-13 and did that kind of deal. So we just have to continue to work hard and continue to put ourselves in a position to be successful and not shoot ourselves in the foot."
The 6'7" offensive tackle out of Oklahoma is one of the more athletic lineman in this year's draft class. Stephenson bested all offensive lineman in his class with a 4.94 40-yard dash. He also posted impressive numbers in the vertical jump (35.5 in), broad jump (9'6"), 20-yard shuttle (4.78), and three-cone drill (7.52). His vertical leap and broad jumps also ranked first among offensive lineman in his draft class.
Stephenson started every game at left tackle for the Sooners this past season on an offensive line that only allowed 11 sacks all year. He started at left tackle in 10 of 14 games his junior season as well. He was an honorable mention All-Big 12 this past season.
The Chiefs have now signed seven of their eight draft picks so far. First round selection Dontari Poe remains the last unsigned pick, but is expected to sign within a reasonable time frame.
The Kansas City Chiefs worked out a number of quarterbacks going into the 2012 NFL Draft and were often linked with Kirk Cousins in the middle rounds or possibly Ryan Tannehill in the first round. Yet when all 8 picks were selected and announced, not a single quarterback graced the Chiefs draft class despite notions to the contrary.
Recently Scott Pioli took to the airwaves of WHB in Kansas City with Kevin Keitzman to discuss a few topics, one of which was the lack of quarterback in the draft.
"I wouldn’t say it was a weak class but I think we would’ve been reaching," said Pioli. "By the time we made our first pick there were three quarterbacks off the board and I think it continued to shift dramatically. I’m also a firm believer in: You don’t wanna overdraft. Philosophically I’ve talked about drafting based on best player available and trying to do a combination of best player available and need."
The lack of quarterback could come back to haunt the Chiefs this offseason. Whether through free agency or the draft, the Chiefs need someone to back up Matt Cassel. Since Cassel went down for half the season last year, it’s very likely that Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi will be responsible for handling the offense. Given the rest of his moves, that’s an odd chance to take given the state of the overall roster.
The Kansas City Chiefs are hoping they can score big. But there's also the great potential of swinging and missing with a top 11 choice in the 2012 NFL Draft. So goes the viewpoints on Dontari Poe, the defensive tackle the Chiefs selected in the first round in late April's draft. In a recent SB Nation round table, Poe was brought up as one of three candidates most likely to turn out as a bust.
The player with the highest chance of busting is Dontari Poe, defensive tackle out of Memphis. The Chiefs, who don't exactly have a stellar history of drafting defensive linemen in the last decade, selected Poe with the 11th overall pick, and he very well could be asked to take on a major role right off the bat as the Chiefs only have developmental players at the nose tackle position. Poe played against lower competition in Conference USA, and he didn't dominate there, which is a concern heading into the NFL level.
Defensive linemen often struggle early because the strength and size of NFL offensive linemen compared to college lineman is drastic. It also seems at least some of the success of defensive linemen in the NFL is based on motivation which, according to some draftniks, is an issue with Poe. Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs have a tall task to transition him into the NFL.
The folks over at Football Outsiders took the time to break down each team in the AFC West after the 2012 NFL Draft, assessing their needs and what notable undrafted free agent signings each club has made since the end of April. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, Kansas City's undrafted free agent class is underwhelming, especially in comparison to the rest of the AFC West.
Here's what Tom Gower had to say about KC's undrafted free agents:
Few, if any, Chiefs made it to the various lists of top undrafted free agents. Kansas tight end Tim Biere has strong local support, and the Chiefs' interest in Dallas Clark suggests there might be room on the roster for another tight end. Defensive backs Neiko Thorpe from Auburn and Tysyn Hartman from Kansas State may have the opportunity to make the roster if they excel on special teams.
Nothing special there, and it's possible that Kansas City is missing out on some pretty nice young talent -- and they might be losing out on it in comparison to the rest of the AFC West. Here's what Gower had to say about the other teams' undrafted free agent class in KC's division.
Cornerback Coryell Judie out of Texas A&M was an intriguing prospect who had a strong 2010 before a hamstring injury cost him much of 2011. If he can regain his 2010 form, he could make the team. Safety Duke Ihenacho from San Jose State excels in coverage, and could vie to replace Adams in a couple years. The Broncos also signed Arizona State wideout Gerell Robinson, giving second-round quarterback Brock Osweiler a collegiate teammate to throw to in rookie minicamp.
Offensive guard Lucas Nix from Pittsburgh could be a valuable reserve. The Raiders have bodies at safety, but none good enough that Aaron Henry from Wisconsin couldn't make the roster. While he wasn't eligible for the 2012 NFL draft, former Cal State-Fullerton basketball player Andre Hardy has a chance to stick at tight end given the lack of depth and experience at the position.
On San Diego:
The Chargers are only carrying three quarterbacks right now, so there's an obvious job opportunity for LSU signal-caller Jarrett Lee. Justin Blackmon's collegiate teammate Hubert Anyiam, UNLV's Phillip Payne, and Arizona State's Mike Willie could make things complicated at the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart. Montana offensive tackle Charles Burton has a chance to stick with Brandyn Dombrowski's move inside to guard.
Hopefully, Scott Pioli and the rest of Kansas City's executives don't regret missing out on any of these undrafted free agents, but it's certainly discouraging to see KC fall behind in the undrafted free agent area.
Rich Ranglin is already familiar playing offensive line in Kansas City. Now he'll hope that his skills translate to the highest possible level of football after signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. After playing well in 2011 for the Kansas City Command for the Arena Football League, certainly the Chiefs' front office has been aware of him for some time.
Ranglin gives the Chiefs another young lineman to compete for depth along with David Mims and recent draft picks Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen. The team needs to remake the second line as well as figure out what they have for the long-term. Ranglin comes with a solid resume in the AFL. From the Chiefs press release:
Ranglin’s previous experience comes from the Arena Football League where he’s played for three different AFL clubs including the Kansas City Command. He was named the AFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year while playing with the Command in 2011.
A four-year letterman at Central Connecticut State, the alma mater of Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, Ranglin was a preseason All-American selection and earned second-team All-Northeast Conference honors as a senior for the Blue Devils.
This year, Ranglin has played for the San Jose SaberCats.
The ink is now dry and the signatures official on the first ever NFL contracts for two more of the Kansas City Chiefs draft picks. Offensive lineman Jeff Allen and defensive back DeQuan Menzie will both play a major role of versatility and depth for the Chiefs in 2012 and beyond, and now both are signed for the long-term in Kansas City.
Allen was the Chiefs second round choice in the 2012 NFL Draft that was part of a run on offensive linemen in the round. Guard and center were positions of depth in this draft class, and the Chiefs used it to address the position behind Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah.
As for Menzie, the Alabama cornerback can also play safety and should add a versatile player to back up all over the secondary. That’s a major help for a team that lost Brandon Carr to free agency and Eric Berry to season-ending injury last year.
Dontari Poe and Donald Stephenson are now the only draft picks unsigned for the Chiefs.
The Kansas City Chiefs are decades removed from Super Bowl celebrations, but that didn't stop Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt from talking about the title expectations during a press event celebrating the franchise's 50 years in Kansas City. For a team once again rebuilding with a new head coach and uncertainty at key positions, it's bold talk aimed at a dedicated but starved fan base:
"It’s been a long time since Kansas City has enjoyed the celebration that goes with winning a Super Bowl and I desperately want to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy and then the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which my dad named."
"I’m always impatient," Hunt said when asked to provide his own championship timeframe. "I want to win today and tomorrow, and it can never come soon enough. I’ve also been around the business long enough to know that you have to have some patience and if you lose your patience it will result in mistakes that set you back."
New head coach Romeo Crennell - the team's interim after the firing of Todd Haley - talked about titles as well. The Chiefs finished 2011 7-9 and in last place in the AFC West.
"As you look at the league, we’ve all seen teams that we’ve said are going to win the Super Bowl and then they don’t even make the playoffs," Crennel said. "Then we’ve seen teams that nobody thinks are going to make it to the Super Bowl end up making it to the Super Bowl. I go into it with the thought that if I can do a good job and be competitive, and then we are going to have a chance to win. Then, if we win enough of them, who knows where we’re going to go?
More information on the Chiefs' 50-year celebration, including a tour featuring members of the Super Bowl IV Championship team (and the trophy) can be found at the Chiefs' official site.
Thanking God 4 another opportunity 2 pursue my dream. Thank u all 4 ur prayers and support. I'm a Kansas City Chief!! Good 2 b home!!— Martin Rucker (@RuckerSouthSide) May 15, 2012
The 2012 NFL Draft is in the books and the rookie minicamps have already begun, but it appears as though the Kansas City Chiefs are not quite done adding to their roster via the free agent market.
Joel Thorman at Arrowhead Pride reports that the Chiefs are planning on hosting free agent safety Yeremiah Bell as he visits with Kansas City on Wednesday. Bell was previously with the Miami Dolphins, but was released by the team a week after free agency opened.
The Chiefs will hope to add depth to the safety position, where the team is currently thin. Here is what Thorman has to say about Bell:
Bell's 34 years old which isn't a good age for your coverage skills. He's best served as a run defender near the line scrimmage. He's started at least 15 games in his last four seasons with the Dolphins.
Time will tell whether the Chiefs take a chance on signing Bell for the 2012 season.
The Kansas City Chiefs were late to selecting any skill position players in the 2012 NFL Draft due to the early choices of linemen on both sides of the ball. However, even as a sixth rounder, Cyrus Gray, a running back out of Texas A&M, was a solid choice by most accounts for a late-round guy who could surprise.
Gray rushed 198 times for 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns last season as the primary back for the Texas A&M Aggies. He also caught another 31 passes out of the backfield. Perhaps that's why he's been praised by the front office and head coach Romeo Crennel as a guy who can "do it all".
Gray recently took a few minutes to answer some questions for the KC area media during the Chiefs recent rookie mini-camp.
Media: Can you tell us what it's been like for you this weekend?
Cyrus Gray: It's fast. The tempo is up, not just the speed of the game but just things outside of the field with your position coach, 7 on 7 and everything. It's the tempo.
Some people look at you as sort of a third round back, but Romeo said you can do it all. How do you see yourself?
Just like Romeo said, I can pretty much do it all. I just want to be on special teams and contribute as much as I can.
How much special teams did you play at Texas A&M?
More special teams my first three years. Not really more my senior year.
How do you go and show yourself as a special teams guy? You look at the running back situation here and the guys that you're competing with, at least the top three, aren't going to play special teams. For you to look forward to being inactive or active is probably going to be special teams.
Right, you know, I have to strive hard to do my best in any special teams, so if it's running down on kicks or covering punts, I'm going to have to do my job.
With NFL rosters expanded to 90 slots for now, there are multiple roster slots open for the Kansas City Chiefs to decide to fill. Yet there are also a multitude of players hoping for those spots.
Undrafted free agents, recent 2012 NFL Draft choices and tryout players took the field from Friday through Sunday in the hopes of turning the eye of Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel and the rest of the Chiefs front office and coaching staff. Among those was former Missouri tight end and NFL veteran Martin Rucker. Unfortunately, every tryout player was sent home before Sunday to help the team evaluate players.
"What we told them, and we told their agents when we brought them here, that it was just a tryout and we'd probably send everybody home and then we're going to talk about it and decide or determine if we want to bring anybody else back," Crennel explained. "That includes Leon Williams, who was with me in Cleveland; that includes Martin Rucker, who was with me in Cleveland, so that's where all the tryouts are."
Rucker is hoping to stick in KC after being the star for years for the Missouri Tigers. It's a team and region he knows well and the Chiefs could use some additional help at tight end after also bringing in free agent Dallas Clark.
The Kansas City Chiefs are going to add at least one or two new faces to the secondary this offseason after their lack of depth showed through on the defensive unit last year. Tysyn Hartman is hoping to be one of those names.
The former Kansas State safety is hoping to catch on with the Chiefs after trying out for them over the weekend at the team's mini-camp. He signed after going undrafted as a free agent.
After losing Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis to various injuries in 2011, the Chiefs are well aware of the need to add someone to help ease the pain there in case those guys are still smarting a bit or if someone else goes down. Hartman seemed up for the challenge ahead.
"As an undrafted guy I've got to prove that I belong here, pay attention in meetings and dive into that playbook and learn it as fast as possible and come out here and prove that I can help this football team," said Hartman. "It means a lot (to sign with the Chiefs). My aunts and uncles have had season tickets as long as I can remember. I can remember coming up to games as a kid. It's been a great experience so far."
For an undrafted free agent, Hartman has a good situation ahead of him. The team drafted De'quan Menzie from Alabama, and he's the favorite to grab a spot because of his flexibility to play corner and safety. Yet if the Chiefs also went with another defensive back, it would hardly surprise anyone.
Hartman had 69 tackles and 3 interceptions last year for Bill Snyder's team.
For those wanting to know a quick snapshot of the latest Kansas City Chiefs choices from the 2012 NFL Draft over the weekend, you can't beat having a coach who will give you quick quotes.
Romeo Crennel took some time out to give a sentence or two about each player's performance at the team's rookie mini-camp held over the weekend. The results are exactly what you'd expect from a group playing for the first time at the NFL level.
"I know everybody wants to know about Poe a little bit. I thought he made some progress from day one until today. He still has work to do."
"Allen missed (Saturday) because of his graduation, but in the first day he looked like he could bend a little bit, took some leadership, asked good questions in the classroom, so we're excited about that."
"I think he's a good athlete. I think he's going to do well for us."
"Wylie showed he has some quickness and has ability to make some plays. I think that's the case."
"I think the big thing is we want to take a look at him at safety as well to see how he picks up on that and if he can handle that. Then that will make a big determination about how we use him."
"He shows flashes. One time, he looks really good and another time, he looks like he doesn't know what to do yet, but that's what a rookie does."
"He had to go back to take some finals, so he had to leave today to do that. He worked hard while he was there."
"I think he's a sure-handed receiver and I think once he gets acclimated to the way we do things. I think he'll show up a little bit more."
From Friday through Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs indoctrinated several new faces into the culture of Arrowhead and the speed and technique of the NFL. Even without pads, it was clear to everyone involved that the pro level is going to take everything and that making the team will be their hardest test yet. Now those rookies will have a chance to work with the pros they’ve admired.
Last weekend was the official rookie mini-camp which now gives way to the veterans returning to Arrowhead Stadium. As the offseason workouts continue today, the Chiefs draft picks, tryout players and undrafted free agents join the fray to help build team chemistry and show the coaching staff what they have when combining everything.
"We got a little something done, got them introduced to our system, to the way that we do things, what we expect of them a little bit," Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said of Kansas City’s rookie class. "I think they got their eyes opened a little, and probably the best part about it now is that they don’t go back home, they get to stay here and then we indoctrinate them into our offseason program.
"Tomorrow morning, they’re going to be doing individual drills with the veterans. Then, they’re going to lift in the second lifting group, which doesn’t have a whole lot of guys in it anyway, and then in the afternoon, they’re going to be in the classroom and doing player program information, so they get to continue what we started. We feel good about that."
To be compared to other hopefuls is one thing, but playing alongside celebrated veterans is another. This will be important for the Chiefs to see what the new guys can do alongside the incumbents. Perhaps they’ll be surprised by who rises to the top.
David LeGree was harder on himself than the coaches evaluating him -- at least to the press. But the pressure on a rookie is clear when speaking with the undrafted free agent quarterback from Hampton trying to play his way onto the Kansas City Chiefs roster.
LeGree was the only quarterback among numerous draft picks, UDFAs and tryout players this weekend, which gave him a great chance to show off his talents. Toward the end, he wasn't pleased with his effort.
Josh Looney from the Chiefs official site describes the downturn.
"David LeGree showed signs of fatigue in the closing minutes of Chiefs Rookie Minicamp Sunday afternoon. His passes lacked the spiral from earlier in the weekend and he missed receiving targets high on multiple throws."
"Being the only quarterback out here, you don't get a chance to throw and then come out," LeGree said. "You're throwing every throw. That's my fault. I have to be better than that. There's no excuse, especially not in this league, so I have to do better on that."
However, LeGree said that he was thankful for what he was able to display.
"I've been in the big school atmosphere, but you never have coaching like Jim Zorn's coaching and NFL coaching," LeGree said. "It's just a great experience. Whatever happens next, happens next."
"As a tryout guy, it's a good experience to be out here and to get repetition and NFL coaching. What happens next, I'm not too sure about that yet."
At the end of day one, Dontari Poe seemed tired but focused. One thing for sure, he is handling expectations and the media very well at his first mini-camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. He took a few minutes out after the opening day of practice for the Chiefs draft class to answer questions and it's clear he's saying exactly what you'd expect from a top selection from Scott Pioli.
Here's the video of the media session while the complete interview is transcribed below:
Reporter: How was your first day?
Dontari Poe: It was pretty good. I learned a lot. I learned a lot on the first day, more than I thought I would, but it's all a process. I'm doing the best I can day by day.
Do you feel a pressure to learn as fast as you can to get on the field right away?
I'm doing it anyway. My point of view on it is that pressure is whatever you make of it, so I'm just working my hardest doing the best I can. That's all I can do.
More eyes on you than some of the other rookies?
There may be, but like I said, that don't really concern me. Whether I was the first pick or the last, I'm going to come in here and give it my all anyway. That's what I continue to do.
What do you want to take away from this mini-camp?
To learn everything that I can. People don't know there's a big mental part to this game, and the learning in the curve in the NFL is pretty faster than anything else, so it's just getting as much knowledge as I can.
What'd they have you focus on over there in the corner for about an hour?
Just being explosive. You really don't do too much of this technique when you're in college, so coming here and like I said trying to learn the mental part of it as much as I can. The physical part will come to me.
What are your expectations for yourself as a rookie?
Just being the best. What more can I ask for? Whether that's Pro Bowl or starting or whatever that may be, I'm satisfied with just doing the best that I can.
You get some good one-on-one time with Romeo?
Not yet. I've talked to him. In my visit here I talked to him and he's a very inspirational guy. He's a different kind of coach, but he's the kind of coach you can't do anything but respect.
How's your day going to end today?
Probably a lot of Gatorade and a lot of sleep. Just getting ready to come back here tomorrow and repeat this day. Just do my best and work my hardest.
You guys got the playbooks yesterday. What are those like?
Yeah, I hit those every night. It's a big book, but like I said, you do the best you can. That's the best you can do. I can't be happy with anything but the best I can be.
Coming from Conference USA, do you think you faced good enough competition to compete at this level?
Yeah, to me football is football. Just on this level, the athletes are bigger, faster and stronger. Whether you're coming from a big school or a small school, this is a jump from anywhere. So you just have to come in here practicing to get ready for it.
You mentioned around the draft that you feel you have something to prove. You still feel that way?
Every day. Every day I come out here, I know that some of my people have heard negatives about me, so as much as I can prove them wrong, just trying to do that every day.
The first skill position player chosen in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs did not come until the fourth round, after the Chiefs had already invested three high picks on the offensive and defensive lines. In the fourth, however, they took wide receiver Devon Wylie out of Fresno State. With his ability to help on special teams and his dynamic speed, Wylie is expected to help the Chiefs in a number of ways.
But apparently, Wylie is going to have to learn how to utilize that speed at the next level. The biggest adjustment to the NFL, as the saying goes, is the speed of the game.
"It's very different," Wylie said. "I'm going to have to increase my speed in my own way, and I'm going to have to harness it, keep my feet under me a little better. Today, I felt like I could have played a little better. I have to play as fast as I can all the time in order to keep my speed and use that as an edge."
Crennel praised his newest receiver and said he could see why the Chiefs choose him.
"He showed some pretty good quickness and things as far as catching the ball goes," Crennel said. "What he was advertised as, it showed. I mean, he has really good quickness and he runs really good routes. I think he'll be able to get a step on defenders and have a chance to make plays."
The knock on Dontari Poe coming out of Memphis and into the NFL Draft was that he was a workout warrior only and was a raw product that needed development. The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, saw their future and believed that Poe could become something special under head coach Romeo Crennel. That very work begins this weekend.
Poe spent the first bit of practice at the Chiefs rookie mini-camp, held this weekend at Arrowhead, honing his technique.
"We were focusing on just being explosive," Poe said. "We really don't do too much of this kind of technique in college, so I'm just out here trying to learn the mental part the best that I can now and the physical part will come later."
"I learned a lot out here on the first day. I learned more than I thought that I would, but this is all a process. I'm doing the best I can and taking it day-by-day."
Crennel commented on the growth of his player and the work that still remains ahead.
"He has a ways to go because he's learning a different system," Crennel said. "Until he can get his footwork, stance and technique with his hands down, it will come, but it takes some time."
"He's playing a position where contact rules when the ball is snapped. We have to teach him the technique, but we have to get him in pads for him to be able to polish the technique. We can see some of the improvement with the guy hitting the bag and trying to understand, but until he puts the pads on and you have contact, that's when he can polish the technique the most."
The mini-camp lasts through Sunday.
Among tryout players is former Missouri tight end Martin Rucker. He was drafted by Cleveland in '08 when Browns were coached by Crennel— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) May 11, 2012
While the Browns did draft Rucker in 08, he was waived by the team just a year later. Since then, he's spent his time toiling in obscurity, sometimes on the practice squads of the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rucker was an All-American tight end at Missouri in 2007. He ended his college career with over 200 receptions, 2175 yards, and 18 touchdowns.
Rucker is from St. Joseph where he attended Benton High School.
The Kansas City Chiefs have started to ink their draft choices heading into the rookie mini-camp to be held all throughout this weekend. While everyone will be there with or without an official contract, it's nice to get everyone situated and settled financially so the players can completely focus on football.
The Chiefs officially reached agreements with fourth round choice Devon Wylie, sixth rounder Cyrus Gray and the team's two seventh round choices Junior Hemingway and Jerome Long. Terms have not yet been disclosed.
The players remaining unsigned include first round choice Dontari Poe from Memphis, second round offensive lineman Jeff Allen from Illinois and third round tackle Donald Stephenson from Oklahoma. Fifth round defensive back De'quan Menzie from Alabama is also unsigned at this time. Deals should be completed shortly for all players.
As the Kansas City Chiefs take a look at several undrafted free agents and rookies, it’s hard to know, as fans, who will stand out among the crowd. Chris Burke at Sports Illustrated has a list of the top undrafted free agents in each team’s camp to help provide someone to watch for.
For the Kansas City Chiefs, Burke says that Auburn defensive back Neiko Thorpe is the one to watch although he also gives a nod to linebacker Dexter Heyman and offensive lineman Cam Holland.
“The Chiefs need safeties, so Thorpe and Tysyn Hartman will get their cracks<’ writes Burke. “There are questions about Thorpe’s character, and he can get lost on film, but he also had 102 tackles in 2011 playing an SEC schedule. That’s gotta count for something.”
The Chiefs certainly have a need for more cornerback and safety depth after last season’s injuries exposed the drop off in talent from starters like Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis. The Chiefs drafted De’quan Menzie from Alabama in the fifth, but there’s room for more.
The Kansas City Chiefs rookies arrived yesterday for the team’s rookie mini-camp that runs today through Sunday, and it’s an exciting time for the recent draftees and undrafted free agents in house. From Dontari Poe, the team’s first round draft choice, to myriad other hopefuls, this weekend is their first step to making an NFL roster.
Much of the weekend is about getting an introduction to the team and its facilities and personnel. There will be a physical, team meetings, and practice sessions through the weekend. There will also be a rookie luncheon to meet former players and staff. From the team’s website:
Slated to attend the rookie luncheon are Pro Football Hall of Famers Bobby Bell, Len Dawson, Willie Lanier and Jan Stenerud and Emmitt Thomas. Chiefs Hall of Famers Deron Cherry and Will Shields will also be in attendance along with former player and current scout Willie Davis, as well as former player and Chiefs Ambassador Danan Hughes.
The former players will eat lunch with the rookies and educate the team’s newest players on the history of the franchise. Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt will also attend the luncheon and officially welcome the rookies to the organization.
The Chiefs hope this class helps round out depth and impact along the line while also improving competition at several other key positions.
Former New York Jets defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday, a day after visiting the Chiefs facility. Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but according the Chiefs' official site, Pitoitua was due to make a $950,000 base salary plus a $200,000 workout bonus this season.
Pitoitua will likely compete for time playing the five technique with current Chief ends Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, and will focus on being a run-stopper. A native of Samoa, Pitoitua entered the league as an undrafted free agent from Washington State in 2008, recording 22 tackles and one sack in his pro career.
The Chiefs' official site likens Pitoitua's role to that of Shaun Smith:
Smith (6’2", 325) was originally signed to play nose tackle, but shifted outside and became the primary backup to both Jackson and Dorsey in Kansas City’s base defense. He went on to start 10 games at left defensive end in 2010 after Jackson suffered a knee injury on Opening Day.
On passing downs, Smith was often relieved by Wallace Gilberry. Allen Bailey is the leading candidate to fill Gilberry’s sub-package role after seeing his play-time increase as a rookie late last season.
When the Kansas City Chiefs made the move to fire Todd Haley and promote Romeo Crennel as the team’s head coach, the offensive side of the coaching staff became infinitely more important. With Crennel’s expertise and experience coming on the opposite side, it made the hire of the new offensive coordinator an impactful one. Thus, Brian Daboll has a tall order ahead as the team’s new OC.
But it’s also his hiring that brought one of the more celebrated free agent signings of the offseason in Peyton Hillis. The team already knew it wanted to sign a tandem running back to partner with Jamaal Charles, but given that Charles is coming off of a season-ending knee injury and subsequent rehab makes Hillis that much more valuable. Hillis says he’s excited to play for his old coach in Cleveland.
"I know what his scheme presents, what he can bring, and I know he can use me in a lot of different situations," Hillis told the Kansas City Star. "I also know we have another great back here in Jamaal Charles, and you know, having a complementary back like me come in there and help him, it’s not as fun when you take all the beating and all the pounding. So when you have a guy in there that you know is just as good, if not a lot better than you are, that’s really good, too."
As for Hillis, he had a down year last year, but it seems like he believes partnering with Charles and playing in KC could be good for turning things around.
“Whenever you’re having a down year, it’s always tough, especially when you expect a lot from yourself," Hillis said. "Some bad things happened, but you move on from it. That’s what I’m taking for my mind-set this year — to come out here and do the best I can and help this team win. That’s what I’m most enjoying — just coming out here, having no pressure, coming out here to just play.
"I don’t have to prove anything to anybody just because I feel like if I just go somewhere and I get to play, I’m going to do my best and I’m going to be OK. As far as proving to everybody else, in my mind-set, I’m always hardest on myself. I come out and prove stuff to myself more than I prove stuff to everyone else."
The Kansas City Chiefs could use some further veteran help even after signing a handful of veteran free agents, drafting another 8 players and signing over a dozen UDFAs. The reason is that after the injury riddled 2011 season, the Chiefs learned the hard lesson about having quality depth, something that killed the Chiefs at multiple positions.
The team brought in Dallas Clark and O.J. Atogwe to check out veteran options at tight end and safety this week already. Both players play at the same spots as Tony Moeaki and Eric Berry — two Chiefs stars who were lost for the entire 2011 and are currently rehabbing trying to get back to full strength. For Moeaki in particular, he’s had trouble staying completely healthy over time. Kevin Boss has already been signed, but signing another veteran to a one-year deal would be a great addition.
Adam Caplan, NFL analyst, recently speculated on some players who could help behind Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis at safety recently and his quotes were featured at the Chiefs official website.
"There are a ton of veterans still out there that could help at safety," Adam Caplan of NFL Sirius Radio said this week on Chiefs LIVE! "I think Atogwe would be a really nice signing for one season, though he’s had a lot of injuries and he’s 30 years old.
"Chris Crocker (Browns/Falcons/Dolphins/Bengals) has had a lot of injuries, but he’s another smart football player. Jim Leonhard (Bills/Jets) could return punts too, but needs to pass his physical. Nick Collins (Packers) is also out there, but will need to pass a physical and is not ready yet."
If the Chiefs were able to sign any of those guys to a one year deal, it would be an instant win. Leonhard has a playoff toughness from his time with the Ravens and Jets. Collins has been a celebrated player on a championship team. The others would also add a veteran cushion so everything doesn’t fall on rookie De’quan Menzie or the stable of guys from last season.
It’s clear that Eric Winston is going to be one of the more affable players on the Kansas City Chiefs roster this season. Given the quantity and quality of his quotes for the media before the season has even started shows that he will likely be a vocal leader and one who will appropriately speak out at certain moments. As he was recently interviewed for the Chiefs official site, WInston spoke out about the state of the Chiefs line and believes great things are in store.
"Ryan Lilja is going to be our leader, I think, in that room," Winston said of his first impressions. "He’s a veteran guy that’s won a Super Bowl before. He knows how to do it.
"You’ve also got guys like Jon Asamoah and Branden Albert, who are young players but I think they are going to be really good players. Obviously, Hudson is going to have to fill some big shoes for [Casey] Wiegmann. I see no reason why we can’t develop that same kind of continuity and same kind of leadership and everything that goes into being a top offensive line in this league."
The comments are interesting since Lilja has heard replacement talk all offseason as the Chiefs could potentially take a David DeCastro in the first round or even a Kevin Zeitler or Cordy Glenn a bit later in the draft if the Chiefs can trade back. Even if the Chiefs take a guard, however, they could use him in the same way they did Rodney Hudson last season as a back-up for multiple positions as he learns at the pro level.
More than anything, it’s clear that Winston is going to be a nice new addition in multiple ways. While his on-field impact is most important, he’s a new vocal leader for the offensive line off the field as well.
It was very clear from the beginning that the Chiefs offense was going to be in trouble without Tony Moeaki. While other key players like Jamaal Charles were also out, Matt Cassel (or any other quarterback that the Chiefs started for that matter) was clearly lost without his dependable target at tight end last year, so the team is hoping that Tony Moeaki can return to form after a season-ending injury due to torn knee ligaments.
‘’Rehab is good,’’ Moeaki said to Adam Teicher of the KC Star recently. ‘’As far as team activities, I’m just doing what the trainers and the coaching staff tells me to do. I don’t really know until we get there.’’
Moeaki said that the loss of the season was frustrating, which is an obvious statement for any athlete. Still, he’s ready to move on.
‘’It was pretty frustrating,’’ said Moeaki, who indicated he hasn’t watched any video of the play on which he was injured. ‘’You can’t do what you like to do. You just have to watch. That’s pretty tough.’’
The Chiefs also added some insurance this offseason in the form of veteran Kevin Boss, who was also injured significantly last year with the Oakland Raiders. Between the pair, the Chiefs will either have two tight ends who can be weapons in the passing game or two players who struggle to play on the field together.
The Kansas City Chiefs heavily invested in the defensive end position over the course of two consecutive drafts picking within the top five. Now they’re going to have to decide what to do with both Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson as soon as the 2012 season is finished (if not sooner).
Instead of selecting impact players at different positions with such choices available for them, the Chiefs took Glenn Dorsey at the No. 5 overall position in the 2008 NFL Draft. As Scott Pioli came in, the Chiefs were in worse shape and picked No. 3 in the 2009 Draft. That year they chose another LSU lineman, Tyson Jackson, to man the side opposite of Dorsey. Now both players are in position to likely hit the market this next spring if the Chiefs so choose.
Dorsey is going to be a free agent. There’s no way around that one unless the Chiefs want to tag him, which means paying him among the league’s best defensive linemen, or signing him to an extension of some kind. As for Jackson, the team just restructured his deal, voiding the 2014 contract year in the process. Most have written that he’s going to be a free agent following Dorsey, but it could be at the same time.
“Much like [Jason] Smith, Jackson took about a 50 percent pay cut in 2012, but received significant 2012 guarantees,” writes Jason La Canfora. “The restructuring keeps him with the Chiefs, but also allows him to hit the market as soon as next year.”
The reason is that Jackson’s salary number for 2013 is an exorbitant $14.72 million. That’s the same sort of number the Chiefs had to rework this season. However, as they head into 2013, what reason will Jackson have to rework his deal unless he really wants to stay in Kansas City. The sooner a player can get to free agency, the sooner he can get the big paycheck that free agency allows. Just ask Brandon Carr how he feels about the new $50 million he signed for.
The reality is that the Chiefs will be looking at both Jackson and Dorsey in the 2012 season to check their progress, to monitor the market and see where and how they want to invest their money. Both players could be re-signed, let go, or fans could also witness a cornerback like scenario where the Chiefs keep one of two and watch the other walk. Either way, Jackson’s deal could force the question sooner rather than later.
The Kansas City Chiefs have made news on a Saturday afternoon as Tyson Jackson, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2009 draft, has agreed to restructure the end of his rookie deal according to Mac's Football Blog.
Jackson joins fellow top 6 picks in the 2009 draft, Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith, Aaron Curry, Mark Sanchez and Andre Smith as players who have all restructured their original deals since coming into the league.
The biggest news from this deal is that the 2014 season has been deleted off the contract. The $2.5 million option bonus from that year has been added to 2012.
In terms of the salary cap, the 2014 season of Jackson's contract has been deleted, accelerating the $2.5 million in option bonus from that season onto this year's cap. Despite that, Jackson's cap number has been reduced from $10.755 million to $9.5 million, a savingsof $1.255 million for the 2012 season.
Jackson has a salary of over $14 million due in 2013, with a little over $3 million guaranteed. It's fair to say that the Chiefs will look at restructuring that deal in the form of an extension sometime before the 2013 season starts, or they will be able to walk away with minimal consequence financially.
With Glenn Dorsey becoming a free agent after this season the Chiefs will need to figure out their long-term plans within the next year at two of the most important spots on the Chiefs defense, defensive end.
Stanford Routt recently gave some interesting quotes when discussing his reasons for signing with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason with the press. As the Chiefs knew they had a decision to make on Brandon Carr, they decided to go after a possible replacement before the free agency period began to give them a head-start on a player that the Oakland Raiders made available. Routt soon signed and gave the Chiefs some flexibility at cornerback moving forward.
Routt said that he was influenced by the team’s stability among other things. He told Bob Gretz, “I think there’s a little more stability here, to say the least,” Routt said. “I think that was one of the things that made me choose here, the stability within the organization from the top to the bottom."
That’s an interesting statement coming just a couple of months after the Chiefs drama-filled end of season that resulted in Todd Haley leaving, allegations of wire tapping and a hostile work environment and much more. The general thought was that Kansas City might not be a destination for free agents because of the odd news coming out of Arrowhead. Instead, key free agents like Routt, Peyton Hillis and Eric Winston ended up signing on the dotted line.
That’s good news for a team that needed some since the 2011 season was one to forget.
Matt Cassel spent most of his young career holding the clipboard -- either while he was at USC or when he was in New England, backing up Tom Brady. After Brady was injured in the 2008 opener, Cassel was thrust into the starting role, played well, and was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he's been the quarterback for the first time in his career.
Now, Cassel is learning what it's like to be the guy who doesn't perform. Cassel has had to deal with offseason rumors, that the Chiefs were trying to bring in Peyton Manning, and that the Chiefs are trying to trade up in the draft to select Ryan Tannehill.
Cassel, though, welcomes the competition.
"As a quarterback in the NFL, you have to have that mentality every day with not only the people in your room but with yourself,'' Cassel said. "The minute you start to become lackadaisical and the minute you start not studying as hard, it catches up to you. I've always had the mentality that I have to push myself to be the best I can be, and that's not going to change. I'm always going to look to get better in each and every way.''
Cassel also specifically addressed the Manning rumors, too:
"Scott Pioli and everybody were open about the fact they were going to reach out to Peyton,'' Cassel said. "To me, I don't take any disrespect from that. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning, and he's one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this game. So how can you take disrespect from that? I appreciated the fact they communicated with me and didn't want me to find out from somebody else.
Hopefully for both Cassel and the Chiefs, this offseason will push him to be the quarterback he can be.
For more on the Chiefs, be sure to check out Arrowhead Pride.
There’s no questioning why the Kansas City Chiefs brass loves Matt Cassel. While the quarterback has his detractors on field, Cassel says everything right off of the field. Despite an offseason filled with public statements about more competition for quarterback and the pursuit of Peyton Manning among others, Cassel seems unfazed by it all. In fact, it sounds as if he’s truly a team-first player despite his longing to stay at starter.
"Every offseason you go into it with an open mind," Cassel told Josh Looney. "Whether we bring in a fourth quarterback, whoever comes in here, we’ll embrace them. It’s about the room and if you can get quality guys into that quarterback room, and we can push each other, then that’s what it’s all about."
That fourth quarterback line was said in response to rumors about the Chiefs drafting Ryan Tannehill. Cassel’s response is perfect, because even if the Chiefs pass on Tannehill in the first round, the team is still a likely landing spot for some prospect — be it Brandon Weeden in the second or Russell Wilson in the fifth, for example.
"For me, I keep an open mind about what is going on," Cassel said. "A lot of people don’t realize how much time these quarterbacks spend together and it’s all about what kind of room you have. The guys who can contribute, hold you accountable and push you, competition really does make you better."
Brady Quinn could still surprise. Ricky Stanzi could startle everyone. But Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel also made it clear that Matt Cassel is still the team’s starter at this stage in the offseason despite the public statements that the Chiefs would want to challenge that made just months ago.
Recent comments on WHB by Crennel put the quarterback position into view for the team, and it sounds like a team who is willing to largely go with what they had last season — besides substituting Quinn for Tyler Palko.
"Well I tell you what we’ve told all the quarterbacks that they will be competing," said Crennel. "Now they will be given an opportunity, but right now Matt Cassel has been the guy that has taken us to the playoffs in the past and he’s going to be the guy and if those other guys can unseat him it’ll be good for us because it’s better all the way around.
“If they don’t unseat him they will just wait their turn and be the best teammates they can be, but I think we have a good group of quarterbacks that will work well together and be ready to step in if they have to."
That’s not the news that most Chiefs fans were hoping to hear, but anything said before the NFL Draft can be rendered useless in a few minutes. Remember Scott Pioli saying he’d never draft a safety in the top five? It’s possible the Chiefs are publicly posturing before taking a quarterback in the draft. Then again, it’s also possible that the Chiefs roll into 2012 hoping that Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn are enough to win the West.
Dwayne Bowe was not expected to arrive at Arrowhead Stadium with his teammates yesterday for the first day of the Chiefs voluntary offseason workouts. It's not surprising, then, that Bowe didn't bother to show up. So while it's not necessarily groundbreaking news since it was expected, it's still notable that the team's offensive MVP (or at least their best wideout of the last half-decade) is not present. It's likely to be the same story going forward for the next several weeks.
The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Bowe earlier this offseason, allowing Brandon Carr to walk toward the deep pockets of Jerry Jones in the process. Fans have nothing to worry about when it comes to Bowe's playing status for the Chiefs in 2012. But beyond that, everything is a mystery and it's difficult to tell just what the Chiefs will do.
For now the two sides will posture themselves accordingly, with Bowe using his absence as a way of making a statement about the lack of a long-term deal for the team's leading receiver. The Chiefs have ways they can respond as well -- either by ponying up with some serious negotiations or go about their business quietly as if it doesn't matter.
As the Kansas City Chiefs players begin to settle back into the routine of working out and studying at Arrowhead Stadium, the regimen is going to specifically focus on conditioning according to the Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark. It’s been a staple of the Chiefs since Todd Haley was head coach, and it’s an emphasis that isn’t going to change even after Haley was fired late in the 2011 season.
"We’re going to continue a phase of training that we’ve been in that’s called ‘adaptation,’" explained Clark. "That’s just a high volume of lifting, not really heavy loads yet. We will still introduce some of the power work in cleans, throws and jumps, and then we’ll do some general running. After these first two weeks we’ll become a lot more specific and a lot more dynamic in our training."
Ryan Lilja admitted to the Kansas City Star in an article today that the lack of such workouts last offseason hurt his performance in 2012. The Chiefs have stressed excellent stamina and conditioning over the last few years, a move essential to keep players fresh for the long road of the NFL season.
It will be interesting to see who arrived back at Arrowhead in good shape and who will need to put in the work more than others. Either way, it’s good to know that the strong facets of Haley’s program are still in place.
As the Kansas City Chiefs move closer to the 2012 NFL Draft, the stark reality facing offensive guard Ryan Lilja is that his competition might be announced soon. With names like David DeCastro and Kevin Zeitler often linked to the Chiefs in mock drafts in the first two rounds, Lilja has to realize that it could be difficult to stave off a challenger for his spot on the Chiefs line.
His quotes in a new article in the Star with reporter Adam Teicher gives an honest assessment of his conditioning in 2011 with the truncated lockout. It’s a sign that he has some work ahead of him and that he has questions himself:
"I don’t want to blame not having an offseason program last year because I’ve been doing this long enough that I shouldn’t need one," said Lilja, who played at Shawnee Mission Northwest and Kansas State. "So I didn’t know. Sometimes I lost sleep about it. Am I am step slower? Am I weaker? Is it age? It can’t be age. Most guys who are 30 are kind of peaking, at least the linemen.
"But maybe it’s that I need this program. I got so far away from it last year. I was training but I was boxing. I was swimming. I was doing stupid stuff like beating on tires with a sledgehammer. I was so far away from footwork stuff that we need to do and getting into a stance and coming out of a stance. So maybe getting back to football stuff this spring will help me."
Lilja’s right that linemen peak around his age. Brian Waters, 35, just made the Pro Bowl and he’s five years older than Lilja at 30. Scott Wells is 31, but did the same. Logan Mankins and Jason Peters were also Pro Bowl linemen in 2011-12, and they are the same age as Lilja. In short, it’s not about aging. Instead, it’s about maintaining an ability to play at a high level — something the former K-State star is in control of.
If you check out the Twitter accounts of various Kansas City Chiefs players, you get the sense that they are as excited as the fans to see football return in some form or another to Arrowhead Stadium. The next ten weeks will be the first time for many of these players to officially wear the Chiefs colors and meet their teammates. For others, it will be a chance to return to give progress on their rehab. For last year's draftees, it's a chance to have a full offseason with the team.
Here's Eric Winston on his return:
Eventhough I'm in a 2 hour delay I'm coming KC. The fun starts tomorrow. Looking forward to meeting the guys and starting something special.— Eric Winston (@ericwinston) April 15, 2012
Branden Albert writes:
First day back with the team tomorrow .. #newstart— branden albert (@B_albert76) April 16, 2012
Jamaal Charles had an interesting exchange as he came back into town:
I was in the airport earlier & this chick told me I probably have a million girls cause u sexy. I told her no... I have 1!!— Jamaal Charles (@jcharles25) April 16, 2012
Then of course, some players realize coming back to Kansas City may not feel like the vacation spots they've become accustomed to. Check Brandon Flowers' account:
Its cold af in kc— Brandon Flowers (@BFlowers24) April 16, 2012
For more information on the Chiefs offseason program, check out Arrowhead Pride.
While it might not resemble training camp, it is the first signs of life of the Chiefs 2012 roster coming together in a meaningful way.
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