Arguably the best and most important free agency pickup the Chiefs have made since Scott Pioli became GM was the signing of RT Eric Winston.
By landing Winston, the Chiefs were able to turn a team weakness into a strength. In a way, the Chiefs were very fortunate that Winston was even available. Players of his caliber are rarely cut, however sometimes salary cap situations force teams to part with a player they would rather retain. In this instance, Winston was a casualty in Houston.
Peter King of SI.com asked Winston to write a bit about what it is like to be a veteran cap casualty for his MMQB column today. Winston has some very interesting things to say and he especially shed a lot of light on what it was like to be recruited by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City was aggressive from the start. When a team schedules a visit, you usually receive a call from the general manager, head coach or position coach telling you how excited they are that you are coming in and how interested they are in you. With the Chiefs, I received calls from all three of them. They made it clear that I was a priority and that I needed to make sure that I got on the plane from Miami and make it to Kansas City.
Often accused of not being aggressive enough (by me) in free agency, it appears as though the Chiefs pulled out all the stops for Winston. Every player is different but it appears in the case of Winston, the extra effort went a long way.
Another interesting nugget from Winston’s write up is that the Chiefs plan to continue running a zone-blocking scheme.
Knowing that a new offense was being installed had me wondering what kind of offense would be coming in. The offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, has traditionally run more of a “power or gap” blocking scheme and the line coach, Jack Bicknell Jr., who just came over from the Giants, has done the same. Now, I feel like I could be successful in any scheme, but I really have grown to love running the zone scheme and understand it well. So going in I wasn’t expecting to hear that the Chiefs would run a zone-blocking scheme, but that’s exactly what I heard. That was like icing on the cake to what had been an already positive visit.
It is good to know that despite having yet another offensive coordinator, the Chiefs will have some continuity on offense. The Chiefs have been running a zone-blocking scheme for a while now so Winston should be able to step right in and get to work. The scheme suites runners like Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster who can make a lot happen with small creases provided by the offensive line.
For the Chiefs to win in 2012 they are going to need to heavily rely on their running game. The Chiefs have much more talent on both sides of the ball than they did in 2010 when they won the AFC West. Should the team stay healthy in 2012, there is a chance they could return to the top of the division.