It’s that time of year again. The smell of BBQ in the morning, cold beer in hand, fans screaming, helmets clashing, chains moving, interceptions, fumbles, sacks, Mitch Holtus TD calls, & KANSAS CITY CHIEFS FOOTBALL.
Isn’t it glorious?
With preseason nearly upon us, it’s the fight for roster spot battles and damn do we have some battles this year…It’s never fun getting rid of good talent for the use of another team. However, that’s exactly what we will end up having to do. Anytime you have so many good players you must get rid of; it’s a good problem to have. We may see some surprise cuts or trades, even. When it comes down to it, no matter how much us fans love the players, it’s about the team – not the individuals. I hate seeing some players go myself, but, if it is the right move to help the team in the end, so be it. I’m always a Chiefs fan before I am a players’ fan.
Quarterback: Alex Smith vs. Patrick Mahomes vs. Tyler Bray
A few people will say Mahomes will overtake Smith and become starter this year. Get that idea out of your head. It’s not happening, outside of injury. The bigger battle is the battle for No. 2 QB behind Smith. You have Mahomes, the rookie the Chiefs traded up for and Bray, who continuously hasn’t been given a chance. GM Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid have said publicly that’s they’re in search of another QB – one with playing experience. In that scenario, Bray is likely gone, and Mahomes is the third teamer – at least in Week 1. Whether Mahomes looks amazing or not you don’t want to throw the kid in the fire to soon and potentially ruin what he can become. Give the kid time to make the progress he needs to. If Smith gets hurt mid-game, or early in the season, expect someone else to enter the game. If Smith goes down later on the season and Mahomes has a full week or preparation, maybe we’ll see the rookie under center.
Running back: There are 2 separate battles, here. Spencer Ware who has been solid for us since the day Jamaal Charles went down, vs. Kareem Hunt, who is the rookie looking very impressive AND Charcandrick West vs. CJ Spiller. I would think they (Hunt and Ware) would end up splitting reps pretty evenly to start the season at least and go from there. The bigger battle at RB is between the 3-year player West, who has battled injury so far in camp, and the newly veteran, Spiller. While, it is possible the Chiefs keep both West AND Spiller, it’s much more likely that they keep just one of the two, as the No. 3 RB. Spiller, while they have yet to play an actual game, has the lead right now, as he has looked better than expected and the Chiefs like his route-running and pass-catching ability out of the backfield. And, with Ty Hill no longer returning kicks, Spiller could fill that void.
Wide Receiver: At the WR, a lot has been shaken up. Jeremy Maclin was surprisingly cut in the offseason. As a result, Hill, the rookie do-it-all sensation a year go, is the default No. 1 WR (although, that could be TE Travis Kelce). Third-year man Chris Conley is almost a lock as WR2. However, 2nd-year man Demarcus Robinson is making a case. That leaves De’Anthony Thomas, Albert Wilson, rookie Jehu Chesson, Sentavious Jones, and lomg shot Marcus Kemp battling for the final 2 or 3 WR roster spots. You would have to assume Thomas and Chesson are locks, given Thomas’ special team ability (special teams coach Dave Toub called him the “toughest” player on the roster) and Chesson’s potential, leaving only one roster spot. Wilson the veteran, with Jones and Kemp having a great camp, so far.
Tight End: Kelce, obviously, is the only lock. Gavin Escobar, Demetrius Harris and Ross Travis are fighting for the remaining roster spots. Chiefs have kept 4 TE in previous years, so it’s possible all four make it, but it is much more likely at least one will get the axe.
There are plenty of intriguing battles on the defensive side of the ball.
For the front seven, the edge rushers and defensive ends are pretty secure with Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Dee Ford, Chris Jones, Allen Bailey, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Frank Zombo and Dadi Nicolas. I wouldn’t anticipate any changes here, although this has been a crazy offseason so anything can happen.
When it comes to the defensive tackles, Bennie Logan is a great replacement for big man Dontari Poe and the recent addition of Roy Miller will prove to be a great decision, as he is a great run stopper. Rakeem Nunez showed last year he is steadily getting better and deserves to be here. There will be a battle between Jarvis Jenkins and Cam Thomas, which after he performed well last season and then was re-signed, I have to give the edge to Jenkins.
The inside linebacker position is obviously led by the vet Derrick Johnson, who has been – and still is – one of the best in the league, and if he stays healthy will be a huge contributor. Behind him you have Kevin Pierre-Louis, who the Chiefs traded for last week, and has been running with the 1’s next to DJ, Ramik Wilson, Justin March-Lillard, Josh Mauga, rookie Ukeme Eligwe and Terrance Smith. Mauga was recently re-signed once new GM Brett Veach took the reins. Wilson looked good last year and Lillard looks get (when healthy). Eligwe has been impressing and at minimum will be solid on special teams.
There is not much of a battle at the safety position outside of a shocking cut. Eric Berry and Ron Parker are both anchors to the back end of the secondary. Daniel Sorenson has proven to be a great fill in who could start on many teams, and has excelled in his role as a third safety. Eric Murray, in his second year seems to be coming into his own and will help a lot more this year than he did before. Marcus Peters is an elite corner, with 14 interceptions in his first two seasons. The battle to watch is on the other side of him. Terrance Mitchell looked phenomenal at the end of last season and Steven Nelson is becoming a solid contributor, although he has shown so far to be much better in the slot. Phillip Gaines will be on the bubble. The talent he has isn’t the question, but injuries have always been the issue – playing in just 13 games in his first three seasons. The Chiefs could make better use of a roster spot with someone who has a better chance to provide availability. Queue Devante Bausby, the local kid who looked good two years ago before breaking his collar. You also have Leon McQuay, the rookie out of USC, who will likely have to show an ability to play special teams.
Special teams are pretty locked. Dustin Colquitt is field-flipping phenom. Cairo Santos is getting better with every kick as he has only missed one kick thus far in training camp. Hill will continue as the punt return man, but will not be returning kicks regularly this year as they try to keep him fresh for his expanded offensive role, which likely leaves DAT in that role.
Until next time, Chiefs Fans. Keep the grills hot, the beer cold, and loudness at a max. For this is #CHIEFSKINGDOM, featuring the best fans in the land.
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