This week on Chop Talk we were joined by TJ Carpenter of 810 WHB Sports Radio in Kansas City, as well as Chiefs insider from www.kcchiefs.com, Josh Looney. Each guest came on this weekly radio show that airs live on Sunday nights from 7-8:30pm CT for about 30 minutes. You can listen to the show in its' entirety right here.
We talked mainly offense with TJ and he shared his views on Matt Cassel and what the ceiling of this offense could potentially be if things come together for the Chiefs in 2012.
I see Matt Cassel much more as a guy that does what Troy Aikman or Terry Bradshaw had to do in their careers, they weren’t really great unless they had other great players around them and that is certainly the case with Matt Cassel, he has all the tools. He’s got probably the best running back corps in the NFL and he’s got a lot more weapons in the wide receiving corps to work with. So if those guys are all on the same page and he is doing some really good stuff off the play-action, then I think they have the potential to be a top ten, maybe even top five offense.
I think it's safe to say that most Chiefs fans are more optimistic about the defensive side of the ball than they are about the offensive side of the ball, mainly due to questions at the quarterback position. But if things come together with Cassel and this receiving group, especially a promising young player like Jon Baldwin, I don't see any reason that this offense couldn't approach the top 10 level. Although a lot of that will depend on the health of star running back Jamaal Charles, who by all accounts at camp looks great so far.
You'd be hard-pressed to find many Chiefs fans that have been following what's been going on at training camp that don't have a keen interest and strong opinion in what second-year quarterback, Ricky Stanzi is doing at there on the field. And depending who you ask you may get a different answer. TJ summed up his thoughts on the Cassel-Stanzi situation.
Cassel is the guy, but if they have a terrible season. Like, if they are 2-6 through their first 8 games… Uh, then Cassel is going to lose his job, I think a lot of people on twitter who follow me and they see what I’m saying and they listen to the show and they hear what I’m saying about Cassel and Stanzi, take it the wrong way. I’m not saying that Cassel is amazing and Stanzi is a joke. I’m saying that Stanzi has a lot to work on that Cassel already has.
We asked Josh Looney if there were any players that had stood out to him after just a few days at camp.
You know actually, two guys really caught my eye. One was Rodney Hudson in one on one drills, he appeared to have a very good day, a lot of stalemates in the one on one drills. For him, that’s a good thing to see, especially with him going into his first year as the starting center.
When we had Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus on the show a few weeks ago Hudson was one of the players that he talked about as being a candidate for a breakout-type season. He said that in 71 plays last season in which Hudson was on the field blocking on a pass play, he had given up ZERO pressures. While those plays were at Guard, it's still a good sign that a first-year starter who did have success in a limited role as a rookie is having a good camp so far.
Looney then mentioned a player along the defensive line that has caught his eye so far in camp.
Another guy who really impressed me and you’re probably not going to hear it from anybody else, cause the guy doesn’t get much press or much action, was Brandon Bair......he's is an interesting guy, because when they are running around in shorts and shirts, this is a guy that doesn’t really catch your eye....But when he puts the pads on, he is big, he is physical, he commands presence when he is the game and you start turning your head… like there is number 90 again.
Bair is one of the more interesting guys to keep an eye on as we get closer to the preseason games. The defensive end spot for the Chiefs isn't lacking players right now. You've got incumbent starters in Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, but then you've also got Amon Gordon who took snaps at defensive end (or 5 technique) last season, as well as nose tackle.
Allen Bailey is possibly developing as a player that could one day become more than just a situational defensive tackle in our nickel or subset defense, where he started last year as a rookie. The Chiefs also signed Ropati Pitoitua from the New York Jets in early May. So the defensive end spot has got some players and Bair is a guy to keep an eye on to grab one of those last spots for the Chiefs.
Looney also shared some of his thoughts on the Chiefs offense after bringing in free agent tight end Kevin Boss this off-season, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, who's been spending quite a bit of time on the field at the same time as second-year tight-end, Tony Moeaki.
The two tight ends is interesting to me, because we saw a ton of that and we’ve continued to see that throughout training camp and mixing Boss and Moeaki together at the same time. When you have two tight ends that can kind of being in the mold of what New England does and yes, look Boss and Moeaki are not Gronkowski and Hernandez, but with the Chiefs, they don’t have to be, because the Chiefs have a run game that New England doesn’t have.
I love the idea of running a lot of double tight-end formations that help establish a mentality of running the football well behind an already solid offensive line, but also give Cassel big, physical targets in the short and intermediate routes. I think teams will have a choice to make as to what kind of personnel you have on the field to defend this particular grouping.
Josh Looney also mentioned something special the Chiefs are doing in honor of their 50th year in Kansas City. They're holding a "Rock The Mic" competition in which one lucky fan will get to report from the sidelines during the Chiefs final preseason game against the Packers in Green Bay on August 30th. It's the chance of a lifetime for one lucky fan to live out their dreams of being a sideline reporter during a NFL game. You'd be joining Trent Green, Paul Burmeister and the 65 Toss Power Trap Productions crew at Lambeau Field. You can enter the contest by following the directions at this link.