Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki make up an important core for the Kansas City Chiefs, and unfortunately the 2011 season fell apart when the team lost all three players to injury early on. While the team remained in striking distance of the AFC West, it was more of a testament to a very weak division than anything else. Now the Chiefs know they'll need these impact players to be healthy to have a shot at a division on the rise again.
Scott Pioli recently spoke to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star and said that the three players will be ready for the season, but that it might be a very measured approach moving forward.
"They'll be ready, but I also think we're going to be smart with all players," said Pioli, "not only the ones who were on injured-reserve last year. We're going to have to monitor as we go along."
It's likely that the team will play a lot of their depth chart more than their starters throughout the preseason to save the team for the regular season. Pioli stressed this earlier this offseason in an interview when he said staying healthy was the key for the preseason.
"You have to be smart with them," Pioli said. "They're coming back and their bodies haven't been stressed. Even though they're ready, you have to manage them. When guys are coming off certain surgeries or injuries, if they go hard one day they may have a little swelling, swelling in their knee or swelling in their shoulder. That's when you say, ‘OK, he's gone hard four days here. He's got a little swelling so let's take it easy and not overstress it.' You need to monitor those things."
On a defense already loaded with Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, safety Eric Berry might just have the most talent of all. Charles is an All-Pro running back that nearly set historic marks in 2010, and Moeaki is a favorite for breakout candidate at the tight end position -- if he can stay healthy. If the Chiefs can add all three players for the duration of the 2012 season, it should be an enjoyable year for Chiefs fans.
For more information on the Chiefs and their training camp schedule, check out the great analysis and discussion over at Arrowhead Pride.