With Training Camp approaching, there are a few areas that need to be addressed for the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs. A new regime brings a new look to Kansas City and the fans are finally going to get to see what this team is all about. As Chief Concerns continuously strives to bring you the best coverage of the Chiefs, CC writers Connor Dawson and Desmond Bailey team up for a five day preview of Training Camp.
To kick it off, we start with a look at some interesting position battles for the Chiefs.
DAWSON: When I think of position battles, I think of middle linebacker. With rookie Nico Johnson, I see a future stud holding down the middle of the defense. But at the same, I also see Johnson as a raw player who is going to need time to develop. With a team that has the potential to do some serious damage this season, I’m not sure if I’m up for Johnson to be the starter. On the other hand, we have Akeem Jordan who is a veteran and a very smart football player. The only problem I have with him is that he hasn’t played in a 3-4 scheme.
Offensively, I think the biggest battle will be at tight end. Travis Kelce is the real deal. But, again, he is a rookie. Another factor in this will have to be Anthony Fasano and his $16 million contract. You have to think that he is going to see considerable action with that kind of money. Tony Moeaki, if healthy, is a solid option in the passing game. Between these three tight ends, there is a strong competition that has an insurmountable amount of importance in the offense.
BAILEY: Good points on the tight end battle, Connor, and on Johnson vs. Jordan at inside backer as well. I agree with you about Jordan’s lack of experience in a 3-4 defense – a scheme that Johnson thrived in at Alabama – being a barrier for him during camp. This could be a situation where the rookie makes an easier transition than the veteran to Bob Sutton‘s defense.
At tight end, I see Kelce being the starter despite Fasano’s contract and veteran status. Fasano’s a good blocking tight end and a capable receiver but he can’t stretch a defense like Kelce and Kelce is equally adept at blocking. Moeaki , meanwhile, will be the odd-man out due a history of injury and inconsistent play.
In the secondary, there’s a couple of battles I’ll be watching. At free safety – Kendrick Lewis vs. Husain Abdullah and at CB – Sean Smith vs Dunta Robinson. I don’t think Lewis has done enough to this point in his career where Abdullah isn’t a legitimate threat. Abdullah, prior to his sabbatical last year, established himself as a leader, hitter and ballhawk for the Minnesota Vikingss. It wouldn’t shock me if Abdullah won the job.
Sean Smith was arguably the prize of free agency for the Chiefs and it was initially assumed he’d start opposite Brandon Flowers while Robinson played nickelback. However, though that may end up being the case, Smith is still very raw. I think Robinson’s experience and leadership could give him an edge here.
Both are physical but Robinson’s a more complete corner than Smith right now and matches up better with the smaller receivers that Smith tends to struggle with. It’s for these reasons that I think coach Reid had Robinson running with the first team defense during OTA’s.
On offense, one key battle that has me very much intrigued is at a position where the starter is already a lock – halfback.
We know two-time all-pro Jamaal Charles will be the #1 back. But behind him, I see a savage, three-man battle featuring Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray and Shaun Draughn for sole rights to be Charles’ immediate backup. All three are talented runners. However, as I wrote in a previous article, I think Gray will emerge the victor there.
DAWSON: I think the halfback battle will be interesting, Dez. We know that Charles will perform, but we have to have a second option. Between David, Draughn, and Gray, I think that there is some serious competition. I think that Gray is the best back, but I think Davis could develop into the second option of the future.
Also, between Smith and Robinson at cornerback, I think Smith personally has the edge because of what he brings to the team. Although Robinson is a seasoned veteran, I think that Smith brings a more fresh, speedy look to the edge that will create more plays opposite Flowers. On the other hand, though, one of these guys is going to have to play the nickelback, and in the end I see Robinson as being that guy. Either way, these two are going to be causing problems for opposing offenses.
Next: Rising Stars