When they get to training camp Thursday at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, the Chiefs will have the league’s youngest roster. They are the only NFL team to begin camp with no player older than 30 years.
They have six players who are 30: quarterback Matt Cassel, offensive lineman Ryan Lilja, wide receiver Terrance Copper, defensive lineman Amon Gordon, safety Abram Elam and punter Dustin Colquitt. Other than Cassel, none of those players could be considered essential to the success of the Chiefs this year, so they will be counting on their many younger players to carry them.
After beginning the year primarily as a three-receiver team, the Dolphins gradually progressed to more two-tight end formations. The result was a 24.7-point scoring average over the final nine games of 2011 (the Dolphins posted a 6-3 record). It was a point total that placed Miami as a top-10 offense during the season’s second half.
“What we tried to do (in Miami) and what we’ll try to do here is be multiple in our personnel groupings,” Daboll said. “When you have guys that can do multiple things and play multiple roles – whether that’s receiver and running back or playing tight end and fullback – it gives you a lot more flexibility.
“We’re not going to try and hamstring ourselves with a specific personnel group. We’re going to try to use as many (groupings) as our players can handle.”
Eric Berry eyed his pale-orange Adidas workout shoes, the ones bearing his personal stamp: EB-29, his jersey number with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“They help me remember Rocky Top,” a grinning Berry said early Saturday afternoon inside the D1 Sports fitness complex near Hamilton Place mall. “They help me remember more of Knoxville.”
The number 29, in fact, honors fellow former University of Tennessee defensive back Inky Johnson, whose career was ended by injury.
The 150 or so young men who paid $75 to $100 to attend the third-year NFL star’s Elite Defensive Skills Camp won’t need much help remembering what they learned in their three-hour session with the two-time unanimous All-American.
“It was definitely worth it,” said Ringgold sophomore defensive back/wide receiver Michael Lewis, clad in his Tigers practice shirt and shorts and a UT Vols ballcap.