The most exciting thing about this year is that it’s finally year two. It’s been a long time since the Kansas City Chiefs have been through a year two, but here we are. To recap the recent history, we had the Carl Peterson led patch jobs, trying to hold together the Vermeil constructed Chiefs. Then, we had year one of the Herm rebuild. Well, that wasn’t good enough for Clark Hunt. He wanted to put his stamp on the organization. He brings in Scott Pioli. Pioli decides he doesn’t like the Herm blueprint and tears it apart. Herm gets the boot. Welcome to year one, part deux. Now, finally we get to see the Chiefs go through year two. It’s been a long time coming.
It feels good to see the same basic blueprint being carried forward. The provides some long needed continuity. Teams that continue to change direction have a hard time winning. With his second draft behind him, Scott Pioli is starting to shape the Chiefs into the kind of team he wants to go to war with. Given that, I have been thinking about some training camp battles that may shape the Chiefs for years to come.
Battle #1: Mike Inside Linebacker: Corey Mays versus Jovan Belcher versus ?
Corey Mays was signed last year for his special teams ability. He ended up starting, but didn’t play all that well. Jovan Belcher developed nicely last year as a special teams player and got increasing reps at ILB during the season. Can he step forward and claim the job? The bigger question is, even if he does, can he play well enough to take this position off the needs list for the 2011 draft?
Battle #2: Safety: Jon McGraw versus Kendrick Lewis.
Lewis has looked impressive in mini-camp. However, that’s not worth much. It doesn’t count until the pads go on. Like Corey Mays, McGraw is not a player that should be starting for a good team. Can Lewis step up and send McGraw to the bench where he belongs or will Romeo Crennel value the veteran presence that McGraw brings to play next to Eric Berry?
Battle #3: Tight End: Leonard Pope versus Tony Moeaki
Pope is another stop gap player. He can play on a good team, but not as a starter. Moeaki has the skills, but he has a history of injuries. Can Moeaki send Pope to the bench? Moeaki can provide Matt Cassel with a threat at the TE spot and the Chiefs can use all the offensive weapons they can get.
With these battles, I am looking beyond the 2010 season and looking for what it takes to build a championship team. The Chiefs still have too many needs. The more young players that can step up and lock up a position long term the better.
OK Addicts, those are my training camp battles. What battles are you looking at this year?