Summer Break

After three months of workouts, all of Herm Edwards' kids are on the loose for the summer. With training camp just five weeks away, the Chiefs still have some work to do. They have five draft picks to sign, aren't done tinkering with the roster and have the matter of Larry Johnson's contract to settle.

Now that we're at the beginning stages of the longest lull in the NFL season, it's time to take a quick look back at what we learned the last several months. There are a million questions for this football team, but in all it's been a very successful offseason. In fact, it might be one of the most successful in team history. Not because of the influx of players, but rather the direction this team is headed, led by a focus on faster and younger players.

So what have we learned?

FB Boomer Grigsby - He might be the single biggest story the past three months. He impressed his head coach, who called him the most improved player on the roster. That's high praise when you consider the fact he's moved from defense to offense. He's almost guaranteed himself a roster spot if he can handle the blocking. There is no question he can catch the ball. He's fast, strong and his cult hero status will only grow if he gets into the end zone. Boomer, who is in a contract year, could get a huge raise next season. He's giving it everything he has and so far he's exceeded everyone's expectations but his own.

WR Dwayne Bowe - Don't let the fact that he's represented by the same agency headed by Ethan Locke blind you to how truly special Bowe could be this year. I'd be shocked if he's not signed before the team departs for River Falls next month. Bowe, after a rocky start to the first mini-camp, grew up fast. He came into his first rookie camp with a swagger similar to Muhammad Ali, but soon learned he wasn't the big dog in town. He adjusted and showed flashes that he's going to be the answer for KC's poor third-down offense a year ago – especially in the playoffs.

LB Napoleon Harris - It took me one practice to see why the Chiefs were so aggressive in swaying Harris from signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the opening days of free agency. He's fast, strong and has a knack for knowing where to be. He's certainly an upgrade over Kawika Mitchell, now with the New York Giants. Harris, along with Donnie Edwards and Derrick Johnson, might form the second-best linebacker crew in the division behind Denver.

QB Brodie Croyle - There is little doubt that Croyle will start come opening day against the Houston Texans. It'll take an injury or a catastrophic performance in the preseason to unseat him from the top spot on the depth chart. Damon Huard won't go down without a fight, but he's the insurance policy at the moment. Croyle has confidence, the support of his teammates and knowledge of the offense. People will be surprised when they see him in action this season. He'll take his shots down the field and bring a fresh force to this offense. Brodie, is a winner and has no doubts he can play at this level. We're all about to find out if he can handle the pressure and expectations. One thing is certain - he has the perfect coach in Edwards to guide him through the process.

RB Larry Johnson - He's looking for a big-time contract, and it's likely he'll get it from the Chiefs. His initial demands of Peyton-Manning money were quickly rebuffed - as they should have been. Now the numbers being bantered back and forth are more in line for a player of his caliber. There isn't any doubt he's the second-best running back in the league behind LaDanian Tomlinson, but the question now is does he get the same pay? That will be debated over the next five weeks, but if Carl Peterson wants LJ under contract long term, he'll give him the big bucks. If that happens, Johnson needs to play like he's the best running back in the league, not the runner-up.

Other Chiefs Notes:

LT Kyle Turley - He recently tried out with the Chiefs again and reportedly weighed over 300 pounds. He wants to make another run at the tackle position after bulking up. Kansas City has some issues along the offensive line and he could be a solid addition, even as a backup.

RB Kolby Smith - The former Louisville running back inked a new three-year deal last Friday, making him the second draft pick to sign. The first was tight end Michael Allan, who appears headed towards a red-shirt first season with the Chiefs. Smith will get some playing time this summer and is someone the Chiefs are counting on to make contributions in September.

SS Greg Wesley - Reports that the unhappy safety might be headed to Denver appear to be true, but the Minnesota Vikings are also interested and that could throw a wrinkle in negotiations. Reportedly, the Chiefs and Broncos have a deal for a second-day conditional draft pick, but I think Carl Peterson will avoid making a trade with a division rival unless it's the only legitimate offer on the table.

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