Preseason Primer


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Jan 22, 2006
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Preseason Primer

Training Camp Site: University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Location: River Falls, Wis.
Rookies Report: July 27
Veterans Report: July 27

Record: 10-6 (2nd in AFC West)
Total Offense: 387.0 (1st)
Rushing: 148.9 (4th)
Passing: 238.1 (6th)
Total Defense: 328.1 (25th)
Rushing: 98.1 (7th)
Passing: 229.9 (30th)

New head coach Herm Edwards will try to bolster a Chiefs defense that often negated the proficient offense Dick Vermeil helped to build during his five-year tenure in the City of Fountains. Like Vermeil, Edwards is a player's coach, but with more of an edge.

Little has changed on the offense, but it is aging. Eight key contributors -- Trent Green, Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, Eddie Kennison, Will Shields, Willie Roaf, Casey Wiegmann and Jason Dunn -- are 30 or older. However, 26-year-old Larry Johnson is coming off a Pro Bowl season, and the sports world will be watching to see if he can rush for 2,000 yards.

The defense struggled again last season, finishing No. 25 in total defense, No. 28 in yards per play and No. 30 against the pass. They have a penchant for creating turnovers (tied for seventh overall) but allow too many big plays. If Edwards and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham find success with the technique shifts they plan on using, the Chiefs should be in the postseason hunt again.

Can the Chiefs get by without Priest Holmes?
In early July, Holmes told the San Antonio Express News, "Everything is on hold." That's eight months after he suffered severe head and neck trauma after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Shawne Merriman. It's not certain when -- or if -- he will resume practice. The Chiefs went 6-3 last season after he went on injured reserve, so they proved they can win without him. Still, with the way he can catch the ball, he would be a great third-down back and would be a valuable backup to Johnson. One option could be to put Holmes on the PUP list and have him come back in Week 7 to help prevent Johnson from wearing down. Backing up Johnson for now is Dee Brown -- who showed some promise with the 2002 Panthers but has seen little action since -- and Quentin Griffin, who had flashes of brilliance with Denver in 2004.

Can the offensive line hold up for one more year?
The Chiefs owe much of their success on offense to its stellar line, which has stayed mostly intact since 2002. Willie Roaf and Will Shields contemplated retirement during the spring, but decided to return for their 14th seasons. Roaf missed six games with a hamstring injury in 2005, and the offense took a step back during his absence. And both future Hall of Famers rarely perform fulltime during practice because of sore knees. They might not get that elusive Super Bowl ring, but it would be pretty satisfying for Roaf and Shields to have a 2,000-yard rusher on their resumes. John Welbourn, however, decided to call it quits at age 30. That opens a starting spot at right tackle, which veteran Kyle Turley might fill if he can bounce back from a back injury that has kept him sidelined for the past two seasons.

Will there be any noticeable improvement on defense?
Cornerback seemed to be the team's biggest need -- especially after the team released veterans Eric Warfield and Dexter McCleon -- but it used its first draft pick on Penn State's Tamba Hali, who along with Jared Allen (11 sacks in 2005) could become a lethal defensive-end duo for years. The Chiefs are counting on 2005 first-round pick Derrick Johnson to build on his impressive rookie season at outside linebacker, and hoping that former Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell can get back on top of his game. Patrick Surtain is a solid corner cover, and Lenny Walls, who had only one interception in four seasons with Denver, signed with Kansas City as a free agent. Walls (6-4) is the league's tallest cornerback, and that will help against Randy Moss and the NFL's other tall receivers. But what might be the biggest key is if Edwards can get the defense to buy into his approach. "I can't give them any more talent; God gave them that," Edwards said. "But we can improve their technique and their mindset."

Roster Additions Players Lost
Ian Allen, OT
Ron Edwards, DT
Quentin Griffin, RB
Chris Johnson, CB
James Reed, DT
Kyle Turley, OT
Lenny Walls, CB Shawn Barber, LB
Marc Boerigter, WR
Todd Collins, QB
Chris Horn, WR
Dexter McCleon, CB
Tony Richardson, FB
Gary Stills, LB
Eric Warfield, CB
John Welbourn, OT
Jerome Woods, S

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 20 Hali, Tamba DE 6-3 275 Penn State
2 54 Pollard, Bernard SS 6-2 223 Purdue
3 85 Croyle, Brodie QB 6-3 204 Alabama
5 154 Maxey, Marcus CB 6-2 197 Miami (Fla.)
6 186 Stallings, Tre' G 6-3 315 Mississippi
6 190 Webb, Jeff WR 6-2 201 San Diego State
7 228 Page, Jarrad SS 6-0 220 UCLA
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