Last year Kansas City Chiefs General Manager, John Dorsey, made all the right moves. This off-season, hamstrung with a shortfall of cap dollars, he really couldn’t do much in regards to player acquisitions. Add that with the fact his 2013 draft class may only yield a single commodity of value Tight End, Travis Kelce, it’s easy to play the guessing game.
With one final pre-season game left Thursday against the Green Bay Packers, Dorsey has to decide what to do with his football team. Does he go for it in 2014 or rebuild for what could ultimately be the beginning of a new era of Chiefs football in 2015.
Looking ahead a year from now, it’s possible the Denver Broncos will take a step back and so will the San Diego Chargers. Each is built for today and neither has any worry about tomorrow. The Oakland Raiders are still rebuilding and are one year away from becoming AFC West competitive.
So what does Dorsey do by weeks end when every NFL team has to get down to the mandatory limit of 53 players? That’s the 64,000 question.
What we know today is the Chiefs offensive line isn’t good enough to start the regular season. Left Tackle, Eric Fisher, doesn’t appear to have the chops to play left tackle. Guard Jeff Allen, for the moment, has moved to right tackle where he can probably survive the competition until Donald Stephenson returns to the starting line-up in October.
But when he returns, it’s possible Stephenson could move to left tackle and Fisher might return to the bench. Still that might solve the outside of the line but the inside is a mess as well.
Inside the team doesn’t have a viable candidate to play left guard and center Rodney Hudson has digressed since camp began. Adding further issues, the Chiefs are committed to starting sixth round draft pick, Zach Fulton, at right guard. Though I agree with keeping Fulton at his spot, this line can’t afford for the young talented guard to learn on the job.
The only other option is for the Chiefs to integrate Eric Cush into a starters role but he’s digressed from a year ago as well. Still, if it was up t me, he should be the team’s starting center. If that’s the case, what do the Chiefs do with Hudson? Perhaps he could move to guard.
Outside of that the Chiefs don’t have anyone on the roster that can fill the void. There just isn’t enough depth, and the players they do have in back-up roles, are a strong drop off from the five Head Coach, Andy Reid, might start on opening day.
That means Dorsey might have to turn to a pair of veteran free agents. One of them might be the most controversial player in the NFL but he can shore up the interior of the Chiefs offensive line provided they could control his free spirit in the locker room.
Veteran Guard, Richie Incognito, has begun traveling visiting with NFL clubs, and with news he won’t be suspended any further by the NFL, the Chiefs could have him on the field come opening day.
I’m not going to banter about his antics a year ago. We’re all past that and everyone has moved on to play another day. Incognito is a wild card but the Chiefs plight just to get eight wins this season has much to do with the overall ability of their offensive line to protect Quarterback, Alex Smith.
Forget executing the offense for the moment. If the Chiefs can’t give Smith time to launch the ball downfield, this offense won’t even be able to execute first downs – let alone find any success in the Red Zone.
I don’t care if they have the NFL’s best trio of running backs, (Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas) available. They’ll get destroyed when teams stack the box on every snap. They’ll dare Smith to throw the ball, and without the time to do so, his interceptions will skyrocket.
The Chiefs could still make a deal with the San Francisco 49ers for disgruntled Guard, Alex Boone, but the price (not only dollars in getting him a new deal) will likely cost the team a hefty draft pick should they come to contract terms. The NFC West team wants a second rounder while the Chiefs to date haven’t budged off a third day selection.
Even if the Chiefs add a veteran guard they still don’t have any depth at tackle. One player who was cut on Monday, veteran tackle, Wade Smith could be a nice fit for Kansas City. Granted he’s 33 years old so he doesn’t have much NFL life left, but for one month or one season, he would become the Chiefs best tackle on their 53-man roster.
Dorsey is in a tough spot. He’s not having a good off-season considering he’s nowhere close to extending contracts of Smith or Linebacker, Justin Houston. In fact, talks have broken off completely so don’t expect any resolutions on those stalemates any time soon.
Still in order to get more players, Dorsey still has cap restrictions he must deal with before adding on any potential salary. So far, his efforts to restructure the contract of Wide Receiver, Dwayne Bowe, have gone nowhere. It appears no other Chiefs are willing to play ball in that regard either.
Dorsey is a hard line negotiator that is hell bent on not overpaying players. However, with the shortcomings on his roster, that’s exactly what he needs to do when veterans become available between now and Saturday.
If not, Chiefs fans will have their answer as to the value and prospects the organization has placed on the 2014 season.
Photos: (1) John Dorsey Brian Spurlock USA Today Sports (2) Richie Incognito Winslow Townson USA Today Sports
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Should the Chiefs take a flyer on Incognito?
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