Can Turley Help?

In Kansas City Chiefs' country, news spreads like wildfire. The buzz over the past two days has been about former All-Pro offensive tackle Kyle Turley. Warpaint Illustrated's sources have learned that the two sides aren't close to a deal but the Chiefs remain interested in the tight end.

UPDATED 5-26-06 12:36 PM

It's not that surprising that the Chiefs are considering Turley, and in fact, it should have been expected. Turley has ties with Chiefs Vice President of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich, who drafted him in 1998 with the New Orleans Saints. Turley started opposite Willie Roaf for four years until Roaf was traded to Kansas City in 2002.

One year after Willie Roaf left New Orleans, Kyle Turley followed suit. The Rams acquired him during the 2003 off-season for a second-round pick. At the time, the Rams offensive line was extremely porous and desperately in need of protection for quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger. Turley signed a six-year, $26.5 million deal with the Rams and started all sixteen games that year.

Unfortunately, Turley soon found himself falling on hard times. The physical demands of playing in the NFL finally caught up with him. After playing and starting in all but one game since the day he was drafted (95 games), Turley had to undergo back surgery to repair a herniated disk. Before he could fully recover he re-injured it in training camp, and missed the entire season.

Four months later, Turley was involved in a heated discussion with former Rams head coach Mike Martz concerning his injury and contract. The discussion ended up becoming so heated that Martz reportedly called NFL security, fearing for his safety. Turley's relationship with Martz became extremely volatile, and when Turley failed a team physical before the 2005 season, the Rams waived him.

Turley Today

Turley was 309 pounds as a rookie, but he feels like he spent his whole career 40 pounds overweight. Right now he weighs 265 pounds and blames the extra weight he carried while playing offensive tackle for his chronic back injuries.

With his weight in the 260 to 270 range he's doing the right thing by moving to tight end. You won't see him running the deep post or stretching the defense anytime soon, however. He's not a pass catching tight end but a rather blocking tight end in the mold of Jason Dunn.

Although the Chiefs already have Tony Gonzalez, Dunn and Kris Wilson on the roster they could still use Turley in a variety of situations. The first situation that comes to mind is finding a replacement for Willie Roaf. Right now it appears that Will Svitek is the front runner to take over that job. If Svitek begins to struggle on an island, Turley would be the perfect tight end to assist him in pass protection. Turley's been a Pro-Bowl tackle. He has quick feet. He understands protection calls and he's familiar with the Chiefs' offensive scheme due to his time in St. Louis.

If you don't think the Chiefs could use Turley, just take a look at the rest of the AFC West. The Chargers have a monstrous defense with one of the NFL's most feared defenders in Shawne Merriman. The Broncos have a blitz-happy defense full of pro-bowler's that sends wave after wave of defenders. Then you have Rob Ryan's New England-style defense in Oakland, featuring sack artist Derrick Burgess.

All of Kansas City's division opponents like to try and stack their defense against the run on first and second down before bringing as much pressure as possible on third and fourth downs. The Chiefs have shown the ability to stifle that pressure and block the other teams' seven or eight defenders with their five or six linemen (offensive line and a tight end). This was especially apparent at the end of the 2005 season in their victories over the Chargers and Broncos. At the time, no one else in the league could hold up against either of those defensive units.

Kyle Turley makes it possible for this level of offensive dominance to continue for the next two to three years. In fact, with his skill set he might instantly become the best run and pass blocking tight end in the NFL.

Other Notes:



Kyle Turley is also a personal friend of Chiefs tackle John Welbourn. The two motorcycle enthusiasts went on a cross-state bike tour of Florida in 2003.

Turley is two years younger than Jason Dunn. Both players have struggled with back problems.

Turley has a reputation for carrying a nasty demeanor. This should fit in well with John Welbourn, Brian Waters, Casey Wiegmann, Will Svitek and Kevin Sampson, all of whom are known for their mean streak.

Kyle Turley should be most effective against 3-4 defenses because he has the foot speed and lateral movement to match up with their outside linebackers. The outside linebackers in a 3-4 usually line up in an "8 technique," or in the D gap, so they can be matched up with a tight end on most occasions.

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