Warpaint Roundtable – Preseason Edition I

This week our crew discusses training camp surprises, Brodie Croyle, Herb Taylor and Herm Edwards.

Who was the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment in camp? This goes for all players, not just rookies.

Nick Athan: Let's do the negative first. No doubt in my mind it's middle linebacker Napoleon Harris. I would not say he's a bust, but he didn't come into training camp ready to play or focused on retaining his starting job. With little fanfare or effort he let journeyman Pat Thomas take his job and then for good measure was pushed to third team by converted fullback Oliver Hoyte.

The biggest surprise for me has to be the offensive line. Even with the loss of first round pick Branden Albert, the five guys still standing have found a rhythm. They are already better than any line the Chiefs have put on the field the last two seasons. You can see it in practice and you saw it against the Bears.

Michael Ash: I was surprised to read all the reports about how strong Brian Waters looked at camp. Not that I thought he would look bad, but considering that he's north of 30 and didn't have one of his best seasons last year, there is that lingering worry as to whether or not he may have peaked. But it sounds like he's determined to prove that some of his best football is still ahead of him, and that's great news for the offensive line.

As for disappointments, the reports about KC's defensive ends were fairly concerning, especially considering the lack of depth the Chiefs have at the position. It would be one thing if Tamba Hali was getting stonewalled by Willie Roaf every day, but with all due respect to Herb Taylor, a first-round pick like Hali should be eating him up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

C.E. Wendler: Honestly, I didn't think Brodie Croyle would be near as good as he's been. He had a couple of days in camp that were simply out-of-this-world good, and he backed it up in Chicago with a fine showing.

As for disappointments, I really thought Damion McIntosh would solidify that right tackle position. He wasn't great in camp, and he didn't look good in Chicago. Maybe Barry Richardson will step up.

From what you all have seen thus far, is Croyle the "real deal"?

Nick Athan: I have always believed Croyle has the goods to be a solid NFL quarterback. Is he going to put up Peyton Manning or Tom Brady numbers? Probably not, but I think he can put up solid enough numbers to be one of the top quarterbacks in the weak AFC West. Croyle still has that gambler mentality but is staying within himself and not forcing as many balls as he did a year ago. That's maturity, and I think he can win eight games for the Chiefs this year.

Will Croyle prove himself in '08?
Al Bello

Michael Ash: I wasn't able to attend camp to observe Croyle in person, unfortunately, but even if I had I'd hold off on making that statement until the regular season. Many players look good in training camp and preseason, only to flounder when the bullets start flying for real. I'm definitely optimistic, though. I think Croyle will surprise people.

C.E. Wendler: Depends on what your definition of "the real deal" is. Will Croyle come out and throw 30 touchdowns this season? Out of the question. Will he throw 20 interceptions? I don't see that happening, either.

If "the real deal" means Brodie Croyle leads an efficient offense, keeps his turnovers low and compiles respectable numbers this season, then yes, I think he's "the real deal." My only real question mark concerning Croyle is his ability to stay healthy.

Is there anything you totally disagree with that Herm is doing?

Nick Athan: That's a tough one for me because for the first time since Edwards arrived in Kansas City, we're seeing see the real coach emerge. He's relaxed and confident and I'm biased a bit because of my relationship with him. If I have a minor complaint it would be the fact he talks to everyone in the media and not just me.

Michael Ash: Going into camp, there were two personnel decisions I questioned – lining Alfonso Boone up at defensive end and putting Damion McIntosh on the right side of the offensive line. Thankfully, it appears the Boone experiment may have ended, but McIntosh is still out there doing his thing, when he's not injured.

I don't know if it was Edwards' idea, but I've questioned the plan of moving McIntosh since the idea was first floated on KcChiefs.com several months ago. Perhaps the Chiefs think McIntosh is making too much money to be a backup left tackle, or they don't think Herb Taylor or Barry Richardson are ready for the spot. But after reading the camp reports and watching the preseason game, McIntosh may be the line's biggest liability at this point.

C.E. Wendler: Like Nick, I'm a big Herm Edwards fan. But if I have a criticism, it's that Edwards is a bit overly positive at times. Listening to him speak, you'd think there was nothing wrong with the Chiefs, or that every player was doing a great job. I know it's Herm's job to be pro-Chiefs, but a little candor when a player screws up wouldn't hurt sometimes.

Will Herb Taylor remain at left tackle after Albert gets back, or move to right guard where he belongs?

Where does Herb fit in?
Getty Images

Nick Athan: Right now Taylor is the backup left tackle. Adrian Jones has done a decent job at right guard. I'm not sure Taylor is anything but a backup, long-term anyway, as he's undersized and does not fit the profile that offensive coordinator Chan Gailey prefers – big guys who are both agile and strong. Taylor has done well serving as a body double for Albert, but when he returns, Taylor goes back to the bench.

Michael Ash: I'm sure Albert will take back his spot at left tackle. As for Taylor, I don't know that guard is necessarily where he belongs. He seems to be a pretty adept pass blocker, so keeping him at tackle may be the best path to take with him, especially if Albert's foot keeps giving him trouble.

C.E. Wendler: Taylor has worked as the second-team left tackle all offseason. Why mess with that now? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, nor does replacing your starting right guard right before the season opener. Herm Edwards has spent months building continuity on his line. He's not about to change course now.

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