Warpaint Roundtable – Offseason Edition XVIII

This week our crew discusses rookie signings, depth charts, team camaraderie and practice length.

Chris Thorman, the owner of Arrowhead Pride, a site for Chiefs news and discussion, sits in for WPI's Michael Ash this week.

How will the dominoes fall this week? Will Carl Peterson get Dorsey, Albert and Flowers into camp on time? I want them on the bus!

Nick Athan: The Chiefs are confident they will sign all of their draft choices on time. As of Sunday the top guys still had not signed, but I'm told those negotiations are moving along. The fact that the St. Louis Rams signed defensive end Chris Long Saturday will help the Chiefs in their contract talks with Dorsey.

I think by Tuesday you'll see Flowers and the rest of the third-rounders signed, but the bottom line is that at no other time in recent history has it been paramount for the Chiefs to sign every draft pick on time. I can easily make a case for each of KC's 12 draft picks as candidates for the final 53-man roster.

Chris Thorman: Because of the guaranteed money issues with no salary cap in 2010, I think most first and second-rounders won't be in training camp on time. It's less than a week until the start of training camp and there are literally three players in the entire first two rounds of this year's draft who have signed.

Glenn Dorsey's deal was also dependent on the signing of the #2 overall pick, Chris Long. That deal needed to be in place as a benchmark before Dorsey was signed. There are plenty of factors in the delay of our top three picks – not all of them involve Carl Peterson.

C.E. Wendler: Nick and Chris dove into the guts of the situation, so I'll just offer up a prediction: Everyone but Dorsey will be inked before training camp. The rookie defensive tackle will miss a day or two of camp. No big deal, especially compared to Dwayne Bowe's holdout a year ago. Besides, there's just no way the Chiefs can have two first-round defensive tackles hold out in seven years, is there?

In the last couple of years, injuries have plagued the team leaving the state of our line, quarterback, running back, and other positions up in the air. What positions do you believe the Chiefs will have the most depth at this season? Which do you believe is the least deep?

Nick Athan: There's depth along the offensive line. Counting the players the Chiefs drafted, the holdovers from a year ago and some of the veterans acquired at the end of last season and in the spring, this is a deep group. However, though there may be strength in terms of numbers, that does not guarantee quality depth. For that, I think it's at the running back position because of the talent level. On the other side of the ball I really like the bodies along the defensive line, especially with the potential for versatility.

The Chiefs have depth at running back with Kolby Smith behind Larry Johnson.
Al Bello

Chris Thorman: Looking at the roster right now, I would say that the Chiefs are probably the deepest at running back. Larry Johnson will be 100 percent healed by training camp. Kolby Smith showed us last year that he's a capable #2 back and Jamaal Charles has turned into the player I am most excited about from this year's draft. The speed in his highlight clips is amazing.

In terms of usuable talent, the Chiefs are probably the weakest on the offensive lines and in the secondary. When you look at the backups in those two groups, the talent and experience level fall way off.

C.E. Wendler: I actually really like the Chiefs' depth at cornerback. They may not be the best group of corners in the league, but I don't see a ton of dropoff from Patrick Surtain to Brandon Flowers to Tyron Brackenridge to Brandon Carr to Dimitri Patterson, or however you want to slice it.

Remember last preseason when everyone was so worried about KC's nickel back situation? It was never really a problem during the regular season. Herm Edwards may not be a perfect head coach, but the guy knows defensive backs.

As for the least depth, the wide receiver position is so unproven it's scary. There's some talent there, but it's really just Dwayne Bowe and a bunch of guys. Hopefully someone emerges.

Will there be more of an emphasis on playing as a team this year? By that, I mean sticking up for one another on the football field. Will there be a higher level of camaraderie (and maybe payback) during the game? Whether the Chiefs win or lose, I'd like to see MEN out there playing football, and playing for each other and defending each other.

Nick Athan: You can already see that in the way the team acts with one another. In OTAs and Mini-Camp there was more of a jovial nature among the players than I'd ever seen before. There was some of that last year, but the change is the fact the rookies have already put their stamp on this football team.

But ultimately, that attitude comes from the head coach. Herm Edwards is loose and relaxed and that is so important for developing camaraderie and getting players to back each other up. I'm not sure about payback or anything like that, but most of the 'me' guys are gone from this locker room. What you will never see is players complaining about one unit versus the other.

Chris Thorman: I'm not sure how much camaraderie we can expect right off the bat. The "band of brothers" mentality is something we haven't seen in Kansas City in a long time, probably since the late 1990s. To facilitate that spirit, I believe a leader must emerge. It hasn't happened yet and didn't even really happen last year. An emerging team leader is going to be one of the biggest themes I hope to see develop in River Falls.

C.E. Wendler: I think that spirit has really been present since the first day Herm Edwards walked into the locker room. He demands that attitude from his players, it's that simple. The guys who don't buy into that don't last long.

I don't know if it can be accurately described as "payback," but the most thrilling example of football retribution I've seen in a Chiefs game the last two seasons was against the Jaguars in 2006. If you recall, Trent Green took a nasty cheap shot from a Jaguars defender during that game. There were words exchanged between Brian Waters and several Jacksonville players.

On the next play, the Chiefs' offensive line washed over Jacksonville's defensive line like a tidal wave and Larry Johnson ripped off a huge run. If that's not payback, what is?

What do you think of Herm Edwards' shorter training camp practices? Dick Vermeil used to go three hours sometimes, Herm seems to go no longer than an hour and a half.

Everyone loves a Herm Edwards practice!
David Sherman

Nick Athan: Herm wants his practices to be more efficient so the players feel like they accomplished what had to be done. For the most part he believes if you work smarter you can accomplish more on any given day. Edwards is also aware of the toll two-a-days can have on his veterans, so he generally gives them a break.

Vermeil did the same thing, but what you have to keep in mind is that the current coaching staff is far superior to any from the Vermeil era. Edwards' staff prepares the players by using the OTA and Mini-Camp sessions to set the tone and expectations for training camp.

Chris Thorman: I wouldn't read much into the practice length. Vermeil was working with a much more complicated offensive playbook, necessitating longer practices. The current playbook is much simpler than the Al Saunders' version.

I don't think the shorter practices have any in-season effects, either. Players known for staying in shape remain that way regardless of practice length. A Vermeil three-hour practice isn't going to fix poor work ethic in any player who isn't already self-motivated.

C.E. Wendler: Sitting through Herm's 90-minute practices last year in 90-degree Wisconsin heat was bad enough, and I've been a Texas resident for over a decade. I can't begin to imagine the hell the media was put through watching a Vermeil practice. As someone who plans to attend training camp for many, many years to come, let me say this much: Herm, don't ever change.

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