Nick Athan: Friday morning I spent about 30 minutes with Chan Gailey, and it's clear his offense isn't going to be predictable. It will change from week to week depending on the opponent. Gailey is good at breaking down game film and though he didn't tell me flat out, my guess is he'll use multiple sets all over the field.
The problem during the Vermeil era was that the offense would always run the same type of sets in the Red Zone - I don't think Gailey will do that. It's beyond our best beating your best, its all about matchups. That might make enough difference to net this team more victories in 2008.
Michael Ash: I think the main improvement will be through Chan Gailey, who's just a smarter, more experienced coordinator than Mike Solari was. For example, in a recent OTA review on KcChiefs.com, Bob Gretz mentioned that the offense is running more bootlegs and rollouts. Gretz pointed out that such plays would help a young offensive line.
Why didn't we see a heavy dose of that last season, when Chiefs quarterbacks were getting sacked multiple times a game? When Brodie Croyle ran out of the pocket a year ago, it was usually because a defender was breathing down his neck, not because the play was designed for him to move.
That's just one of many ways that having an experienced coordinator will help improve the unit. I definitely think we'll see a smarter offense than we've seen over the past two years, but how much that will actually help remains to be seen.
C.E. Wendler: I think the running game will return to 2006 levels. Not quite elite, but good enough that the Chiefs will be able to use the threat of play-action effectively. You'll see plenty of running to left, as I'm not sold on the run-blocking ability of the right side of KC's supposed starting offensive line (Adrian Jones and Damion McIntosh).
In the passing game, I anticipate Brodie Croyle and Dwayne Bowe will really form a connection this year. How far KC's offense goes will depend on the chemistry formed with the rest of the receivers, including Tony Gonzalez. Croyle and Gonzalez didn't exactly light it up last season.
With a roster limit of 80 for training camp who are the 12 players you don't see making it to River Falls?
Nick Athan: I'm not sure I can guess the 12 but I have a good idea which positions will likely be depleted. I know for sure the Chiefs won't carry five fullbacks to River Falls. My guess is they'll carry two, and they won't carry three kickers either so there's another cut and I really can't see them carrying four quarterbacks.
The most depth on the roster at the moment is on defense. There's a plethora of linebackers and defensive backs who won't make the cut, but I don't think we'll see any surprises outside of the Chiefs finally cutting safety Greg Wesley.
Will Greg Wesley survive the first cut?
C.E. Wendler: I don't share Mike's reservations about naming names, so here goes my best guess – LB Johnny Baldwin (already waived, according to one source), TE John Paul Foschi (huge logjam at tight end), RB Kalvin McRae, K Nick Novak, DE Jonal Saint-Dic, OG LJ Anderson, S Khayyam Burns, LB Weston Dacus, CB Jason Horton, FB Steven Jackson, OT Travis Leffew, WR Kevin McMahan.
Now that OTAs are over, in your opinion, who are the starters on offense and defense?
Nick Athan: Let my give you my thoughts as to who I think should be the starters, instead of who might end up that way.
Offfense: WR - Bowe, Franklin. OL - Albert, Waters, Niswanger, McIntosh, Richardson. TE – Gonzalez. Backfield – Croyle, Johnson, Cox.
Defense: DL - McBride, Boone, Dorsey, Hali. LB - Johnson, Edwards, Williams. Secondary - Page, Morgan, Flowers, Carr, Surtain (nickel).
Michael Ash: Plenty is still to be determined on both lines, in the secondary, and at receiver. So if you're like me and you're hoping for, say, a defensive end to step up so Alfonso Boone can move back inside, hope isn't lost just yet. But the way the starting lineups appear at the moment:
Offense: QB – Croyle, OL –Albert, Waters, Niswanger, Jones, McIntosh, WR –Bowe, Franklin, TE – Gonzalez.
Defense: DL – Boone, Edwards, Dorsey, Hali. LB – Johnson, Harris, Edwards, CB Flowers, Carr. S – Pollard, Page.
C.E. Wendler: I'll follow Nick's lead and give you my hoped-for lineup instead of the current standard.
Offense: QB – Croyle, OL – Albert, Waters, Niswanger, Stallings, Richardson, WR – Bowe, Darling, TE – Gonzalez.
Defense: DL – McBride, Tyler, Dorsey, Hali. LB – Johnson, Harris, Edwards, CB – Flowers, Surtain. S – Pollard, Page.
What's with Connor Barth's hair? Do you think Herm will make him cut it?
Nick Athan: He might just do that before training camp, but if he keeps making kicks in practice and driving the ball into the end zone on kickoffs, then he can wear it down to his ankles as far as I'm concerned.
Don't mess with the 'do.
C.E. Wendler: Legend has it that Connor Barth's shimmering golden mane imparts Samson-like qualities to his kicking talents. The longer his locks flow, the longer he can kick the ball. He's certainly displayed the strongest leg in OTAs this offseason, according to reports.
If Barth cuts that hair and his kicks start cutting wide to the left, the Chiefs might be forced to cut him from the roster before the season begins. For the sake of the 2008 Chiefs, the future of KC's kicking game, and the sanity of Herm Edwards (can someone find this guy a reliable field-goal kicker?), keep all sharp objects, electric clippers and tubes of Nair as far away from Connor Barth's cranium as possible. Too much is at stake.
Herm understands big hair. Just look at a photo of the guy from his playing days with the Philadelphia Eagles. It's not like anyone's going to be tackling Barth from behind, anyway.