Two Burning Questions to Ponder in July

As we settle into the lull between the offseason workouts and the start of training camp, now is the time to reflect on the Kansas City Chiefs' momentous offseason. It's also time to review some of the lingering questions still burning leading into training camp and season.

Even though this is the time of year for Tommy Bahama shirts and fruity drinks with Carmen Miranda garnishes there are still a couple unanswered questions that are on the minds of the Chiefs front office and coaching staff as they prepare for training camp later this month. With virtually all positions filled on the roster the Chiefs still have a pair of questions to resolve on defense.

Question 1: Who is going to start at linebacker?
Right now the Chiefs have a pleasant quandary at the linebacker position, one that no one expected to have at the end of last season. There are only three starting linebacker spots and a lot of talented linebackers to throw at them. In addition to acquiring Kendrell Bell, the Chiefs got an absolute steal in Derrick Johnson at the 15th pick of the draft. As if that wasn't enough, Keyaron Fox has been playing absolutely out of his mind. The Chiefs have a glut of outside linebackers that can play. There are still some questions at middle linebacker, but the Chiefs have some good talent there also.

Vying for playing time in the middle are Kawika Mitchell, NFL Europe MVP Rich Scanlon, rookie Boomer Grigsby and fan favorite Mike Maslowski. Those are all solid guys, but if the Chiefs decided to put the top three linebackers on the field, it wouldn't include either of them. There are whispers that Chiefs may place either Bell or Fox at the middle linebacker spot.

So do the Chiefs play one of the existing middle linebacker candidates? Or do they move one of the outside linebackers to middle? It'll be interesting to see who starts at middle linebacker once camp opens.

Question 2: Who will replace Eric Warfield, in the event of a suspension?
The Kansas City front office has done a good job shoring up the Chiefs weakest position this offseason. Despite this, they are still thin at corner. There is some very good talent beyond the starters, but there needs to be a clear cut fill in for Warfield if he gets suspended as a result of his DUI last year.

Dexter McCleon will battle Ashley Ambrose who signed a one-year contract last week for the nickel back, but the Chiefs don't have a lot of confidence in McCleon as a starter or a back-up to man the outside for any length of time. Second year man Benny Sapp is a good cover man, but he may be too short to play outside. Though Sapp is the teams best blitzing cornerback, his all around skills need work. Rookies Alphonso Hodge and Justin Perkins are talented, but not experienced enough to contribute against the stiff competition the Kansas City will face at the beginning of the season.

Kansas City is still in the market for a veteran corner despite signing Ambrose. The main target is Ty Law who is still on the market, and still mending from the foot injury he suffered last season. He won't last much longer, so the Chiefs need to make a decision. If healthy, Law could be the permanent starter for the Chiefs this year playing opposite Patrick Surtain. If indeed Law is signed and available to start the season opener, then Kansas City would have as talented a trio of cornerbacks on the roster as any in the NFL.

There are still options, but the Chiefs need to have a plan in place by the start of camp. The Warfield decision may come once camp has already started. Look for Kansas City to get proactive in the next couple of weeks.

Now is the quiet before the storm. Soon, the training camp rubber will meet the road, and the decisions of the off-season will be put to the test. Before the Chiefs can fully relax, there are still some decisions that have to be made and another player or two added to the final roster before they start hitting each other later this month in River Falls, Wisconsin.

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