Well A1’ers, the dog days are upon us, so of course, training camp is upon us. I think I have finally warmed up from sitting in the stands during the playoff game with Pittsburgh, frustrated that the Offense could only move the ball well at the beginning and the end of the game and frustrated that the Defense couldn’t stop the run or get stops on 3rd down until Pittsburgh was in field goal range. So, it’s time for my scattershot thoughts on training camp, the preseason and what I will be looking for.
Move back to River Falls, Wisconsin. Don’t give us this “We need to prepare for the heat” crap. Football is not played in the summer for a reason. Players will practice better in the cooler temperatures. You are local for one reason, money. It’s cheaper to travel and you are charging fans to come see practice. Because, you know, the Chiefs need an extra couple of thousand dollars a day. When I went to River Falls, it was free to get in, free to park. It was really neat going there. I got to talk to Dustin Colquitt and Will Shields. That was a lot of fun, plus the town was really into the Chiefs.
Shiny New Toys
Oh, everyone loves the draft and the shiny new toys the Chiefs get to play with. It’s halcyon days for the fans. Every 3rd round pick is another Travis Kelce. Every 5th round pick will have a Tyreek Hill impact. Sober minds understand that with a team like the Chiefs, most rookies will have little impact. Hunt could have an impact, assuming he can be quick and fast enough and be stable enough to get a lot of YAC. He reminds me some of Emmitt Smith. Smith never seemed to have the explosive speed or shiftiness, but he piled up yardage. Running behind a stellar line never hurts.
Who Steps Up?
While most people are drooling over the rookies, I will be looking to see what second and third year players take a step up. Some questions are easy and obvious. Can Chris Jones build on his impressive rookie season and become the dominant force on the defensive line? Can Tyreek Hill avoid the sophomore slump (as well as the NFL having lots of tape of him to study) and become a stud? Can Chris Conley become a bigger threat in the passing game? I will be looking to see if players like Eric Murray, DJ White, Ross Travis, Steven Nelson, and Ramik Wilson take their game to a higher level.
Our shiny new toy Quarterback, he of the howitzer arm, needs to incubate for a year or two. After preseason, I don’t want him to take a snap, outside of garbage time. Alex Smith is an excellent Quarterback for Patrick Mahomes II (PM2) to learn from. Alex’s strengths are PM2’s weaknesses. To develop well, he needs to take a few pages from the smart, risk adverse QB in front of him. As much as fans want to see PM2 develop into a QB that can take the Chiefs to a Super Bowl and win it, we are all going to appreciate Alex Smith more when he is gone. Speaking of appreciation….
So Long Dorse, Thanks For The Picks
Losing John Dorsey was a major blow. Say what you will about his cap management. The man can find players. He is easily the best talent evaluator the Chief have had since Bill Kuharich, arguably since King Carl first came to KC and even possibly since the 1960’s. It is hard to compare drafting from then to the modern era. The modern era in drafting is very different and requires a different set of skills. Of course, the term modern era means different things to different people. For me, it’s football after the 70’s. For the youngsters, it’s football in the 2000’s. For Bert, it’s when the forward pass was legalized. Yes folks, the forward pass was not legal in football until 1906. When it was legalized, passes couldn’t be thrown more than 5 yards to either side of the Center, an incomplete pass was a 15 yard penalty, and a pass that wasn’t touched resulted in a turnover. I kid Bert, but A1 is a richer site with his contributions.
Continuity? Don’t Talk About Continuity!
Talk about a line of poor reasoning. You hear the Chiefs and many pundits talk about how the Chiefs will have great continuity with their Offensive Line. All five starters returning from last year, yada, yada, yada. One problem, Parker Ehinger. If healthy, he is expected to start at Left Guard. There goes your whole continuity argument. If you want to talk about the continuity on the right side of the line, that’s fair.
Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News
The Chiefs needs good news from the Doctor. Is Justin Houston finally healthy and ready to terrorize Offenses? Can DJ make another comeback and play at a high level? How much gas is left in Tamba Hali’s tank? Will Justin March-Lillard ever play a full season or will he Sanders Commings his way off the team? What’s the major problem with all of the above? They are all Linebackers. The Chiefs better stockpile numbers of Linebackers to call, just in case.
If you got the Jim Mora, Robert Palmer, and Douglas Adams references, you scored 100%! Sound off below. What are you looking for in training camp and the preseason?
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