Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp: 5 Battles Worth Watching
Kansas City Chiefs Top 5 Training Camp Battles
As training camp approaches for the Kansas City Chiefs, there have been some serious changes to this team. From a new head coach in Andy Reid to a new starting quarterback in Alex Smith, new faces and a new philosophy are everywhere.
For most NFL teams, training camp is a chance for coaching staffs to sort out their starting lineups and finalize their depth charts to open up the season. As I went over the Chiefs roster, it looks as if there are lots of decisions to be made. This team has been ultra aggressive in the offseason, adding players to help this team now.
Breaking down the positions that are locked in, as opposed to up in the air, a few stand out. The starting quarterback is locked in with Smith. Same for the starting running back Jamaal Charles. Even the starting offensive line and wide receivers are in place for the most part. The defense is a similar mix with the secondary largely in place and the bulk of the linebackers and defensive linemen.
However, whether it’s depth on offense or starters on defense, there are still some exciting training camp battles shaping up. Questions have to be answered about who will start at nose tackle and one of the inside linebackers spots. And in a league where injuries seem to be as much a part of the game as anything, who plays key backup roles are just as important. This is especially true of the Chiefs who have been decimated by injuries the last two seasons.
Let’s take a look at the top five position battles for the chiefs this year at training camp.
Backup QB-Chase Daniel v Ricky Stanzi
While the starting spot is set, who backs Smith up is still open for some debate. Daniel was likely brought in with the intention of being the No. 2, but Stanzi is experienced and could sneak in. If Stanzi can't cut it, rookie Tyler Bray could find his way to the active roster.
Starting inside linebacker-Akeem Jordan v Zac Diles
Right inside linebacker is locked in with Derrick Johnson, but there isn't a lot of talent next to him on the inside. Jordan has the inside track to win the starting job, but don't rule out the veteran Diles to beat him out.
Starting nose tackle-Dontari Poe v Anthony Toribio
Poe was drafted back in 2012 to be the starting nose tackle, the anchor of this 3-4 defense. He started every game in 2012, but according to many Chiefs fans I spoke to, they would like to see Toribio get the nod this year, and see if that can improve on very mediocre numbers.
Slot wide receiver-Dexter McCluster v Donnie Avery
The Chiefs are going to be throwing the football all over the place in 2013. That slot wide receiver could essentially be another starter, so whether it's the quickness and acceleration of McCluster, or the deep speed of Avery, one of these players will be firmly in the mix for lots of catches.
Backup running back-Knile Davis v Shaun Draughn v Cyrus Gray
If we know anything, it's that for running back Jamaal Charles to be successful, he needs a break once in awhile. Fatigue and injuries have plagued him, so having a backup player who can come in and not miss a beat is vital. Davis is the most talented of the bunch, and should end up the primary backup player along as the primary kick returner.