Reasons For Optimism … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs
If I had to choose a book to describe what the year 2010 has looked like so far for the Chiefs, I’d pick the Three Musketeers.
To this point, I’ve already seen Athos (represented in the savvy manner which the Front Office has approached the off-season), Porthos (embodied in the guts necessary to make some unpopular decisions – aside from Eric Berry — in the Draft), and Aramis (symbolized by the attitude displayed in the near-pristine attendance mark in June’s minicamp).
What’s the only missing element in this tale? That would be D’Artagnan (performance on the field). What’s the good news? That he’s within sight.
With only a couple of weeks before the start of the 2010 training camp it seems like the Chiefs have put themselves in a rather enviable position. After earning rave reviews across the board following the occurrences registered in Free-Agency and the Draft, it’s almost inevitable not to feel confident about the prospects of the squad. Yet, alert remains the premise that the battles on paper mean nothing on Sunday if you’re not tough enough, bright enough and disciplined enough. And to no one is a secret that those traits are only achieved through great preparation.
Confident as I am that the Arrowhead Ones are about to embark on a similar adventure, here I leave you the seven reasons why I think the Chiefs will enjoy a great training camp:
7. Todd Haley’s Wet Feet
Last year, the leader of the pack was a rookie. This year, he’s a sophomore. Is this a big deal? You bet. As the old NFL adage goes: with every passing season, you’re either getting better, or getting worse. And in Haley’s case it’s always been about the former. His track record says so. And for exactly that reason is why I’m confident that Haley will run an even better operation this time around, one where we won’t find another Pollard-esque situation.
6. The Competitive Factor
We already had a 1,120-yard runner (Jamaal Charles) in the fold, but that didn’t stop us from getting another 1,000-yard runner (Thomas Jones – more on him later). Likewise, we prided ourselves in having a 16-game starter at center (Rudy Niswanger), yet we couldn’t resist the temptation of bringing aboard a 36-year old man (Casey Wiegmann) to fight him for the starting job. Translation: no spot is guaranteed in this team. Each of those will have to be earned the hard way that is through competition. And I expect it to be fierce, which by the way will make us better.
5. Thomas Jones’ Hunger
When the Jets decided to cut ties with Jones back in March, the Red and Gold was provided with an opportunity to scoop the perfect complement for the incumbent starter at RB in the form of the League’s third-leading rusher from the year before. Yet, it was more than that. In rescuing Jones from the unemployment line, the Chiefs got themselves a very motivated man who will be dying — repeat D-Y-I-N-G — to make the Jets pay for releasing him. And that’s a good thing – for us, anyway. Since the Jets are undoubtedly going to be one of the contending teams in the ’10 season, I would bet the farm that Jones will be hungry to one-up them this year, a reason that leads me to believe that he’ll be the most committed player on the Chiefs’ roster. I’m positive that such display of dedication will be glaring throughout all of training camp and enough to rub off on his teammates.
4. Glenn Dorsey’s Diligence
When I first heard that Glenn Dorsey was about to be moved around yet one more time along the DL, I waited for his reaction. And you know what I got? Nothing. If Dorsey was disciplined enough to hold his tongue and obey his team’s orders back in April, I sincerely expect nothing less from his teammates this August when going through those two-a-days. And that will pay off in the big picture.
3. Integration of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel To The Program
After being ignominiously dismissed by Notre Dame and the Cleveland Browns respectively, you just know that both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel are primed to have big comeback years. And for that, they’re gonna have to give it all. Who will be the beneficiaries? The Chiefs of course.
2. A Full Slate Of Draft Picks Signed On Time For The Festivities
For a change it’s going to be exciting to see the whole rookie class signed, sealed, and delivered punctually for the beginning of training ca … Wait … What? Only Kendrick Lewis has inked a contract? Well, need not worry. They’ll all be on time. Trust me … IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. See? I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned that this column was all about optimism.
1. The Change Of Scenery
So, Kansas City fans … do you think that it’s a slight possibility that a Chiefs’ training camp will get a little more interesting – in all aspects – now that they’ll be holding it closer to home?
I thought so.
NFL PERSONNEL & NEWS FILE FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 14
- COLLEGES – Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson announced his retirement on Wednesday, a surprising move considering the Commodores are less than a month away from beginning pre-season camp. Johnson was ready to begin his ninth season at the school. His record was 29-66. His replacement for the coming season will be offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell.
- BRONCOS – QB Tim Tebow now has a shoe on the market made by Nike before he’s even gone to his first NFL training camp. The EA SportsxNike Trainer 1.2 is a limited edition shoe that’s blue, orange and green. On the left heal is the word “Promise” with the date September 27, 2008 printed below it; that was the day of Tebow’s post-game speech after a loss to Mississippi that was the catalyst of Florida’s BCS Championship after the 2008 season. The entire speech is printed on the insole of the shoe.
- BROWNS – signed 5th-round draft choice S Larry Asante 4-year, $1,960,000 contract – the Nebraska product performed well enough in the off-season that he could see a lot of playing time in Cleveland; placed TE Greg Estandia on the injured-reserve list and then waived him with an injury – big, blocking TE is done for the season with an unknown injury; released DE Keith Grennan – he spent time on the Cleveland practice squad for the last couple years but blew out a patellar tendon during practice last year.
- CARDINALS – signed 5th-round draft choice QB John Skelton to a 4-year, $1,972,000 contract, with a $181,000 signing bonus – out of Fordham, Skelton is big, strong-armed quarterback who with seasoning could surprise in the league.
- COWBOYS – signed 6th-round draft choice OT Sam Young to a 4-year, $1,900,500 with a $110,500 signing bonus – Notre Dame product will get a chance to make the roster as a backup; signed 7th-round draft choice DE Sean Lissemore to a 4-year contract, terms undisclosed – out of William & Mary, he’ll play defensive end in the Dallas defense.
- JAGUARS – signed 5th-round draft choice DE Austen Lane to a 4-year, $1,974,000 contract with a $184,000 signing bonus – product of Murray State who should challenge for playing time in the Jacksonville defense.
- PACKERS – because they are publicly owned, the Packers are the only NFL team that releases its financial information each season. They did this on Wednesday, showing a balance sheet with $258 million in revenue, $9.8 million in operating profit and net income of $5.2 million. Costs for players increased $22 million from last year for the Packers.
- RAIDERS – signed 7th-round draft choice CB Jeremy Ware to a 4-year, $1,852,000 contract with a $62,000 signing bonus – typically fast Oakland draft choice, he ran 4.3 seconds in his pre-draft workout at Michigan State.
- TEXANS – signed 7th-round draft choice TE Dorin Dickerson to a 4-year, $1,845,000 contract – very good athlete out of Pitt who may be a TE or WR.
- TITANS – signed 3rd-round draft choice LB Rennie Curran to a 4-year contract, terms undisclosed – he’s an outside backer from Georgia who had 135 tackles last season for the Bulldogs; signed TE Sean Ryan – former Chiefs TE lands with his second team this season.
Reasons for Optimism? Nah … all that is just speculation. Enrique – it’s a slow time, we all know. But you can do better. Much better.
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Optimism is fine, this time of year. But, reality will soon make an appearance. How much better will we be…if at all? The answer is coming right up. Finally.
Enrique, some great stuff this week man. Do you see anyone else becoming part of the Right 53 that isn’t currently here? If so, where do you see those additions occurring (what positions and any names)?
I really like the note of Glenn Dorsey’s diligence. Though he has “underachieved”, he hasn’t given up. A great thing to note as the Chiefs start to experience the real grind of off-season work. Hopefully he keeps the same attitude when the pads go on!
Enrique, is there any chance you will start your own free blog?
I hate Tebow so much.
Agree with your post. Well done.
With the offseason coming to an end (thankfully) We can focus more on 80 guys competing for real jobs. It will be exciting to read Bob’s take on the players, their progress or regress among other observations during training camp & pre season games.
I’m once again the forever optimist of every upcoming season for the Chiefs. I’ve been a patient fan year end & year out for 40 plus years. I’ve “enjoyed” hundreds of games and a like amount of “no joy at all” games. From Lenny Dawson to Matt Cassel. I remember Super Bowl 4, Christmas Day 1971, Joe Montana in the AFC Championship game. That “not to be named” kicker who missed four easy kicks against the Colts. (Arguably the best Chiefs Squad since The 1969 team).
I’ve got a ton of reasons to be pessimistic about our team year in & year out. But, you know what? I have been thoroughly entertained every Sunday for every Fall & Winter since I was a little guy. Tell me, what good would it do… complaining about a team that has been entertaining me all these years.
Wow Jimbo, you’ve been in this for the long haul! I thought i was bad “sticking” with it since ’90! Well, i got the bug, so i guess i really don’t have a choice! I would say that team w/ the unnamed kicker was the best DEFENSE we had, but if i’m not mistaken, Bono (i don’t like BBQ) was the QB and on 4th down and got have it to stay alive, he threw it out of bounds. Granted, we were in position to score 4 field goals, but even IF he had made all 4, that would have made the score 19-10. I have always thought that when Montana and Allen came along, that team w/our defense was the best, but still fell short!
I guess i should say when we had Montana and Allen.
Well done Enrique
I totally agree we should see some changes in how Haley conducts business in his second season as HC.
Youre also correct in that players and even coaches either improve or decline each season, there is no such thing as staying the same because it means the person isn’t improving by learning from their experiences.
Enrique or Bob,
I have heard so much about Haley’s 2nd year and Weis and Crennel (not to forget Thomas) coming in with fresh eyes. I wonder how you would rate teams that are:
1) Adapting to a new (and/or rookie)head coach/staff.(down arrow)
2) Getting a groove and pushing hard(up arrow) in coaching expertise.
3) Are stagnant, maybe even on auto pilot, (down arrow) in their “wanting to get better” mode.
This would make a unique article to ponder as the effect on a team can be significant.
Jimbo, I’ve been at this about as long as you, and I am also quite optimistic right now. But, as you said, I always am at this time of year. Also, as you said, I can’t deny that I’ve always been entertained by this team. But, something was different last year, even more than the year before. It made me so sick and angry. There were too many personnel moves not made and bad ones that were; too many bonehead plays by the players and coaches. There were time last year that the Chiefs didn’t even look like they belonged in the NFL.
Even though I had expected more improvement than 4-12, I chalked it all up to the upheval of the franchise: new GM, new head coach, new players and new schemes. I still believe all that had much to do with it. And there were bright spots, and hope for the future with so many young players. I do like Pioli and Haley and crew, and I think they know what they want to do and how to do it. I have little doubt this will be a much better team this year, although I still don’t have a feel for how many wins that might be expected. The coaches and front office have made some huge gambles on the emergence of many of those young playes, and we’re only going to start finding out about them after training camp starts.
Right now, it simply looks more like it will be a much funner year (more wins). Not only more wins, but watching those young players break out, and watching this team solidify it’s identity and get back to some respectable football.