Postcard from camp: Chiefs
Now I understand why the Chiefs decided to return to Missouri for training camp for the first time since 1990, vacating the University of Wisconsin-River Falls after 19 summers there. They drew a stadium record 10,721 fans to Saturday afternoon's intra-squad scrimmage at its new Missouri Western State University camp site in St. Joseph, Mo., about an hour north of Kansas City. Starting about 90 minutes before the scrimmage began, cars were lined up and snaking their way onto campus for as far as the eye could see. It was like something out of the final scene from the movie
1. I might sound at the moment like I'm drinking the Kool-Aid the Chiefs are dishing out, but I really believe we may look back at Kansas City's 2010 draft class in years to come and view it as the kind of foundation-type draft that serves as a springboard for future Chiefs success. I know, that's a mouthful. But in first-round safety
It's August, but I think Berry, McCluster, Arenas and Moeaki are going to show up, get on the field, and produce right away in 2010, and I like both Asamoah and Lewis to eventually work their way into mix. The Chiefs don't want to weigh their rookies down with too much of the burden of expectation, but there's a real sense of anticipation for what this draft class could represent in Kansas City's rebuilding program.
"I've said that exact thing a couple times,'' Chiefs second-year head coach
If a turnaround story does unfold in Kansas City in the next two years, remember my prediction about the Chiefs' Class of 2010. If it doesn't, forget I ever said anything.
2. It's gotta be a little tough to be a rookie named "Tony'' when you're trying to play the tight end position in Kansas City, but Moeaki (pronounced MO-ee-AH-kee) has more than a few
"If we can keep this guy going in the direction he's going, we've got something,'' Haley said. "He's a football player now. In all areas. He's got a great feel for the game. He can catch the ball and he does things as a route runner that I've been trying to get receivers to do for 10 years.''
3. You can not over-estimate the impact free-agent running back
Last year, Chiefs new general manager
"Thomas Jones, he's off the charts,'' said Haley of the ex-Jet who gained a career-high 1,402 yards last season and will complement Chiefs' 1,120-yard rusher
"And then the leadership side. The guy is a beast. He is the real deal. Because he knows what it takes. Nobody can out work him. He's been part of turnaround teams and he's been part of success in places that hadn't had a lot of success [Bears and Jets]. And now he's got something to prove [because the Jets let him go], so it's a good combination.''
I'm going to break a postcard from camp rule here and give you two new faces: Chiefs coordinators
I can actually vouch for Crennel being back, because I saw him on the Chiefs sideline calling the defensive signals during the team's intra-squad scrimmage. But I never laid eyes on Weis, the former Notre Dame head coach, while in Chiefs camp on Saturday. He did his work during the scrimmage up in the coaches box, far removed from the media. Both Weis and Crennel have kept a very low profile so far in camp, and they're only going to talk to the media for the first time on Monday after practice.
After last year's upheaval at the coordinator slot in Kansas City -- offensive play-caller
McCluster has created most of the buzz so far among Chiefs rookies, and it's clear that Kansas City quarterback
The Chiefs can't wait until teams try to go man against McCluster, because they think he'll be able to shake most any defender. His speed, wiggle, and big-play skill set adds an element to the Kansas City offense that it hasn't had for years, and I expect the Chiefs to try and take advantage of his ability to separate early and often in third-down situations, where Kansas City was dreadful last year.
I didn't see this first-hand on Saturday due to the scrimmage, but I have to relay this image from Chiefs camp. Assistant head coach
Then, as another player yanks the door open, someone fires a pass at the player in the Port-a-Potty, who must react quickly and make the catch. It's supposed to sharpen a player's ability to concentrate on the ball despite the distraction of a defender blocking their view, or some kind of obstruction taking place.
But in the case of the Chiefs struggling offense, the unusual drill certainly seems rife for supplying your own punch line. I'm thinking of a couple right now. I'll bet you are too.
1. Improvement on defense this year in Kansas City depends a lot on if first-round 3-4 defensive ends
It's early, but the hope is that Crennel and new Chiefs defensive line coach
2. I liked what I saw Saturday from Chiefs first-round pick, Berry, who went fifth overall. The ex-Tennessee safety is looking solid and getting first-team reps, and he had a nice interception during the scrimmage. The Chiefs love his study habits, work ethic and intellect. Combined with the versatile Arenas and the intriguing fifth-round safety, Lewis, there's some young talent to build on in the Kansas City secondary.
3. Chiefs fourth-year receiver
4. It's all sounding rather hopeful in Kansas City these days, but the Chiefs roster still has precious little depth. Other than the running back position, where Charles and Jones figure to form a productive tandem, there's not another part of the Kansas City depth chart that goes too deep. Third place in the AFC West and anything over six wins would pass as real progress for the still-rebuilding Chiefs.
5. Just a hunch, but I think Cassel's definitely going to earn more of that big contract the Chiefs awarded him last summer just before camp. I think having Weis in his ear is going to help elevate his game quite a bit, and Kansas City's offense simply has more play-makers at its disposal with Jones, McCluster and Moeaki on hand.