The Kansas City Chiefs start their OTA (Organized Team Activities) today and there is no denying the importance of these workouts.
OTAs aren’t technically practices. The players aren’t allowed to have contact but that doesn’t what is happening any less important.
The Chiefs will be looking for stability after a 2011 season filled with uncertainty, turbulence and change. While the team has already had a few games last season to get used to life under head coach Romeo Crennel, there have been some other changes that the team will need to adapt to if they hope to get out of the gate quickly in 2012.
The big focus will be on correcting the problems the Chiefs had on offense in 2011. With injuries to Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Jonathan Baldwin and later QB Matt Cassel, the Chiefs found themselves suddenly devoid of offensive weapons. By the time the season was over, the unit had been led by three different QBs and was struggling to put together a consistent scoring attack.
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has made sure that scenario is unlikely to happen again in 2012. While injuries can never be predicted, Pioli made sure to load up on offensive talent so that should the injury bug bite again, the Chiefs will have a cavalry to call on. By adding Peyton Hillis, Devon Wylie, Brady Quinn and Junior Hemingway, in addition regaining Charles, Moeaki and Cassel, the Chiefs figure to have the deepest and most dangerous offense they’ve had since the days of Trent Green and Priest Holmes.
On defense, the focus will be on turning an already strong unit into one of the league’s best. Despite losing Eric Berry for the entire season, Crennel’s unit finished 11th in the league a season ago. This unit has the potential to be special and now that Crennel is the head coach, defense figures to be the heart and soul of the Chiefs in 2012.
KC’s OTAs are May 21-22, May 24, May 29, May 31-June 1, June 4-5, June 7-8. On June 12th, the team will begin its mandatory mini-camp. All eyes will be on WR Dwayne Bowe, who is currently not attending the voluntary workouts. Bowe has been offered the franchise tag by the Chiefs, however he has yet to sign the tender. Bowe has said he plans on playing this season and that he will definitely be present when the team opens training camp in July. If Bowe doesn’t show to the mandatory mini-camp, he’ll be fined by the team so look for him to sign his deal and report should the two sides not agree to a long-term deal before then.
For a team looking for a fresh start, every practice is critical. Hopefully the Chiefs will use these sessions to lay the groundwork for a special season.