Postcards to Camp


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Jan 22, 2006
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Postcards to Camp
Aug 03, 2006, 2:59:27 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ

RIVER FALLS, WI – It’s been a training camp for extreme weather so far here in the northwoods. First, it was days of heat, something the Chiefs have seldom seen during their sojourns to the land of beer and cheese. Now it’s sometimes torrential rain over the last two days that has left the practice fields saturated and the Chiefs running for cover.

So it seems a good time to clean out my e-mail bag, which you guys have flooded over the week that the team has been here in the Falls with questions about the team.

From Keith H.:
I just finished reading the “Listening to KRAP” article you just posted and I have to say it was great. I like the way you put into perspective all the silly and nonsensical talk that goes around. I hear the same kinds of thing you wrote about every day that I go to work. It’s hard to tell them that the Chiefs are pros, just let them play and quit worrying so much! Anyway, keep the articles coming.

Keith’s sentiments were a good example of the majority of e-mails I received on the pieces over the last week about the roller coaster rides some pundits and fans take with every personnel move involving the Chiefs. It’s way too early for anyone to be making judgments on how the arrival of Ty Law and the retirement of Willie Roaf will affect this team. I know and appreciate that there’s a lot of emotion involving all things Chiefs related. But my dear fans, keep a clear head on these things and be patient.

From Joe M.:
I just heard about the trade for Michael Bennett. What is he going to bring to the Chiefs? He seems like a pretty talented player to be a backup. Does this mean Priest Holmes is definitely finished?

Bennett brings Pro Bowl talent and speed to the Chiefs and this gives Mike Solari another tool to work with. In evaluating Bennett over the last few months, one area where the Chiefs felt he’s not been used very much is as a receiver. He’s caught 126 balls in his career, but most just standard dump-off passes. They would like to see what would happen if this guy lined up on the line of scrimmage or went in motion and was sent down the field to catch some balls. That could be an interesting addition to the offense.

As for Priest, it doesn’t appear likely that he’ll be a factor this season. Carl Peterson said on Wednesday that the door remains open to Holmes, but his most recent evaluation by the doctors did not bring clearance for contact. At this point, it’s doubtful that situation will change in the next month to six weeks.

From Harry J.:
Now that they are in training camp, what’s your opinion of the talent the Chiefs have added to their roster this season? Is it enough to get them over the hump?

Good question Harry. As with all things involving personnel, the proof will be in the playing and what the team produces on the scoreboard. But consider these names that have been added in the last two years: Kendrell Bell, Pat Surtain, Sammy Knight, Ty Law, Michael Bennett and Kyle Turley. What do they have in common? All those players but Knight are either first or second-round draft picks. And, all those players but Turley have been selected to the Pro Bowl.

Right now the Chiefs have 23 first-day draft choices in camp and they have 11 players that have been selected for the Pro Bowl at least once. That’s a lot more top-of-the-line talent than the team had on the roster two years ago.

The ultimate payoff is the post-season and a championship, but you’ve got to give Carl Peterson and his personnel department led by Bill Kuharich early kudos because they’ve worked all the systems to bring in players: trades, street free agents, unrestricted free agency, Canada (QB Casey Printers) and the draft.

From Randy L.:
Everybody has spent a lot of time in the media and on the talk shows talking about the offensive line, but the area that concerns me more is the defensive line. What’s been happening in camp?

Randy, your concerns are shared by many others, including some in positions of power around the Chiefs. They are watching the development of the defensive front very closely, because that’s where the Chiefs need the most improvement on that side of the football. There are 15 players on the depth chart and they are fighting for eight, maybe nine spots.

Some of the players that have gained notice have been Ryan Sims, James Reed, Jared Allen and No. 1 draft choice Tamba Hali. Sims has been disruptive to the offense and has gotten a lot of penetration at the line of scrimmage. So has Reed, although he’s done it against the No. 2 offensive line. Allen and Hali are running with the first team and they are really showing up in the drills, on both the pass rush and against the run.

The bad news is that Junior Siavii still hasn’t been on the practice field as he battles knee problems, Ron Edwards has just gotten on the field, as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery and rookie Stephen Williams, who showed some promise in the off-season program, is still rehabbing a foot injury.

Coming off shoulder surgery, Eric Hicks looks like Eric Hicks; he’s busting his behind and making some plays. Jimmy Wilkerson is everywhere, playing tackle and end, as well as working on quite a few special teams units. Lional Dalton and Carlos Hall have flashed at times.

It will be interesting to watch the defensive line on Friday night when the Chiefs take on the Vikings over in Mankato. Because of the way Herm Edwards structures his practices and the bad weather that’s forced some alterations to the schedule, there are not a lot of opportunities for the defensive line to go full speed.

From Roman E.:
Tell me about the young quarterbacks and what they are doing in camp. Nobody down here in Kansas City is spending much time on them and I think one of these guys needs to be our quarterback of the future.

Roman, in this first week of camp Brodie Croyle and Casey Printers have looked pretty much as they did in the off-season work back at Arrowhead. Croyle is much more advanced fundamentally and he’s got more than enough arm to make a place for himself in the league. Printers is the finest physical specimen the Chiefs have had at quarterback in the 25 years that I’ve been hanging around this team. He’s big, strong and he’s got a gun on his right shoulder. But his footwork still needs a lot of work and he tends to break the pocket at the first sign of pressure, an indication of his days in Canada.

Here’s a prediction for the pre-season: Printers will become a fan favorite and will be proclaimed by some as the QB of the future. He’ll be on the field in the fourth quarter, playing against the other team’s third-string defensive guys. His protection will break down and Printers will start running all over the field throwing balls 50 yards down the field and completing some behind the defense. It will look sensational and Chiefs fans will ooh and aah and get excited about his future. But Printers remains a raw, raw product, and he’s a long way from being the team’s quarterback of the future.

The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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