Chiefs training camp preview: Arrowhead Addict roundtable

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As we close in on the start of Kansas City Chiefs training camp, we’ll start to see more and more talk about the various competitions going on throughout the roster.  The truth is that 37 guys are about to become unemployed within the next few weeks.  And while some of them will have a chance at making the Practice Squad, that is more often a last step before leaving the NFL than a first stop towards making it.

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The Kansas City Chiefs have no shortage of interesting camp battles.  Some are intriguing due to an abundance of talent, like the outside linebacker group.  Others are troubling due to the uncertainties, like…well, almost the entire offensive line.  But over the next few weeks, we will get a much clearer picture of what this team is all about.

To get us started down that path, I asked my fellow writers here at Arrowhead Addict which camp battles they are looking forward to.  Here’s what they had to say…

Can the Chiefs find a way to get both Hali and Ford on the field? If not, who is getting more snaps? Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

  • Ladner Morse and Brandon Fry: Tamba Hali and Dee Ford

Ladner’s Take: Some will say this is not a position battle but recently Hali revealed that Ford got a majority of snaps during OTAs so it will be important to watch those two as camp goes along.

Tamba Hali is winding down a great career with the Chiefs. Since Tamba is the venerable veteran with so much more experience you can project he’ll still be the starter when September rolls in. While Hali’s sack total was only 6 for the year in 2014 it was obvious that the pressure he was able to create was directly responsible for many of the sacks that Justin Houston was able to produce.

Keeping track of how many snaps Hali and Ford get in camp should help us understand a little bit about the new rotation and what percentage each will be playing during the season.I can even see a scenario in which Dee Ford garners a majority of the snaps this year. If that happens it will mean the first round draft choice investment was a worthy one indeed. The Tamba Hali and Dee Ford watch will be less of a battle and more like a friendly game of musical chairs. In any case, it’s going to be one fun camp!

Brandon’s Take: ​I’m looking forward to seeing if Ford can take Hali’s spot and start getting some return on that first round investment. ​

My Take:  I’m not a fan of Tamba Hali and Dee Ford splitting snaps this year.  Regardless of who is better, I feel both are good enough to be on the field.  I think it is more important to find away to get both of them out there at the same time, along with Justin Houston.  That will be Bob Sutton’s big challenge.  But if that isn’t possible, then I do want to see Dee Ford start to take over the starting role.

Can Rakeem Nunez-Roches find his way onto the field to help relieve Dontari Poe? Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

  • Josh Brisco: Finding the backup to Dontari Poe

Josh’s Take: Dontari Poe has led all NFL interior defensive linemen in total snaps for the past two seasons, and the effects of that workload have clearly worn on Poe late in the year. While it’s counterintuitive to take a dominant inside presence off the field for 10-15 snaps per game, the Chiefs must find a way to give Poe a break. Training camp will give Bob Sutton and the Kansas City defense a chance to find that next man up.

The Chiefs have no clear favorite to be Poe’s backup, so throughout camp, watch the snap counts and the performance of anyone who gets playing time in the middle of the defensive line. The most well-known candidate is sixth-round pick Rakeem Nunez-Roches who is the only man behind Poe that was drafted by the Chiefs. Also keep an eye on Charles Tuaau, a rookie undrafted free agent who could certainly surpass Nunez-Roaches with an impressive camp showing.

Former Samford lineman Nick Williams may have the upper hand since he knows the system better than the rookies, but he is still a developmental project.  The Chiefs also have Vaughn Martin, though he is more of an outside player.

One more possibility comes from the outside. John Dorsey has consistently scoured post-training camp surprise cuts from teams with depth at certain positions, and I expect the Chiefs to bring in another competitor at defensive tackle if none of the in-house gambles pay off.

My Take: I can’t say that I have a lot of faith in any of the options behind Poe right now.  However, we do have to find a way to let him catch a breather.  The answer to that may be Barry Cofield who has recently announced that he is back healthy again.  Coming off of surgery, Cofield will be far cheaper and likely only be on a one or two year deal in order to prove his worth to the rest of the league.  That can provide the Chiefs with valuable time to see what they have in Nunez-Roches or to look for another option in next year’s draft.

Next: The depth chart at skill positions