As the Kansas City Chiefs attempt to figure out their roster heading into the first preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, tight end is going to be a position focused upon with the return of Tony Moeaki and the addition of Kevin Boss. Essentially it's a brand new position in 2012, and it's going to be key for Brian Daboll's ability to move the offense forward in his first season as offensive coordinator.
Moeaki missed the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL and the subsequent rehab after an exciting rookie campaign that showed significant promise. Boss also missed time last year while with the Oakland Raiders, so both players are hoping to stay healthy throughout 2012 and be a pass-catching option for Matt Cassel. Yet fans dreaming of two-tight end sets might have to think again if health becomes an issue for either.
In the latest episode of Chop Talk, the weekly podcast covering the Kansas City Chiefs, guest Jay Binkley from 610 Sports talked about the role of the tight end on the Chiefs and offered up some great insight.
"In a lot of these sets they have been using on offense, they have a tight end come back," said Binkley. "That’s a guy like Steve Maneri, a converted offensive linemen to tight end. They back these guys up and put them in that fullback role. But if you want to see a true tight end set, Tony Moeaki is going to have to be healthy, because you’re not going to run a two tight end set and have any effect with Jake O’Connell or Steve Maneri paired with Kevin Boss. It’s going to have to be Boss with Moeaki, but if one of those guys is hurt, go ahead and scrap a two tight end set being effective."
In short, it might be expected for the Chiefs to add a third tight end if they want to maintain their ability over the long haul to use a true two-tight end set in Daboll's offense. Maneri might be able to catch a ball here or there a la Leonard Pope, but he won't force any defense to switch their coverage up at the line of scrimmage. Counting on both tight ends to stay healthy for a full season apiece is going to be a tall order for the Chiefs.