The signing of Gaither is a bit interesting considering, he had a better offer from the Oakland Raiders. But something changed after he arrived in Al Davis's world. We're told that Gaither went to Oakland and wanted no part of the organization. In turn, the Raiders said he was unfit physically to play for them.
I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Either way, I expect Gaither to line up come opening day against the Buffalo Bills as the Chiefs starting right tackle. That means, because of his versatility, Barry Richardson returns to back-up and that gives the Chiefs extreme depth at the tackle position. And that allows rookie David Mims more time to develop.
2. C Rodney Hudson - After chatting with former Chiefs offensive lineman, Rich Baldinger on our latest Out of Bounds Podcast, he's convinced that Hudson is the real deal. And I can't disagree with him at all.
I know the Chiefs are going to start long time veteran, Casey Wiegmann at center to start the regular season. But Hudson needs to get some reps. After reviewing the Bucs game one more time (and that wasn't easy), the rookie center from Florida State more than held his ground.
Yes he's raw. But at some point this season, hopefully sooner rather than later, Hudson gets some time with the first team offense. Because he can handle it.
3. Jon Baldwin/Steve Breaston - This is a big week of practice for both Chiefs receivers. If this offense is going to take the next step, both need to take a big leap. We saw glimpses of the potential of Baldwin in Friday night's lopsided 25-0 loss to the Bucs. Baldwin nearly made a spectacular circus catch on a pass from Quarterback, Ricky Stanzi in the third quarter. Had he had a few more feet to work with on the pass, the stud receiver from Pittsburgh, would have been an instant ESPN highlight sensation
As far as Breaston, he really has to assume the role of the teams go-to slot receiver. From all accounts in camp thus far, he's starting to get the hang of the offense. But its critical for the Chiefs success controlling the ball this season on offense, and scoring more points, that Breaston opens up the middle of the field for Baldwin and last years All-Pro, Dwayne Bowe to work on the outside.
4. RB Thomas Jones - The old man was remarkable on Friday night. With all the talk, yes I'm guilty of it as well, that Jones has no shot to make the final 53-man roster, he shut us all up with two solid runs on back-to-back plays against the Bucs.
However, before I completely eat crow, let's keep in mind that he's a back-up. The Kansas City Chiefs can't make the same mistake they did a year ago and give the rock to Jones in key situations. In fact, the Chiefs should limit his game day work to 8-10 carries. Anything more would be risky.
If they do that, that will keep him fresh down the stretch. With battering ram, Le'Ron McClain in the mix and speedster Dexter McCluster settled in as the teams third down back, Jones should be a compliment to Jamaal Charles and nothing more. If the Chiefs change push their luck with Jones, he's likely going to break down in the second half of the season like he did a year ago.
5. GM Scott Pioli - I'd be shocked if the Chiefs General Manager didn't sign another couple of defensive lineman this week. Though the pickings are slim, the Chiefs still need another veteran defensive end or two.
But he can afford to wait until the first cut down in two weeks. However, for the sense of team unity and development, if he can find a few more bodies before then, all the better.
I'd have to give Pioli a solid (A) for his efforts to date in free agency. Sure we all wanted the glitz and splash. But his 2011 class is better than his 2010 class and with the additions just of the three Ravens he added to the roster to date (McClain, Gaither and Kelly Gregg), he was able to talent, leadership and steal good players from a winning organization.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
What position should GM Scott Pioli try to improve this week?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com