CHIEFS – The Week In Review

What happened this week in the world of Chiefs football? What does it mean? Nick Athan is here to recap it all and offer his analysis.

Book End Starters? - May 11th, 2009

With rookie camp over, the fun really begins to build for Todd Haley. Now that he's seen most of his team practice, he probably has a good idea as to what he has to work with going forward.

We've debated this before, but I think Haley already has a feel for who his starters will be. Now he can begin the process of organizing his coaching staff to get his players ready for opening day in September.

That's all that matters, because this organization has been notorious for slow starts. This season it won't be easy for the Chiefs to even hit .500 after eight games thanks to their brutal schedule.

So Haley has to define roles for his players as soon as possible. One thing we've concluded is that first and third-round picks Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee will be KC's starting defensive ends. It isn't likely that Glenn Dorsey will crack the starting lineup, as he's already been converted to defensive end and he's never played that position before.

Jackson and Magee have to be considered front runners to start. The other notable aspect of this weekend's rookie camp was that the Chiefs spent a considerable amount of time adding un-drafted players who fit the 3-4. They've clearly identified weaknesses, especially regarding a lack of depth.

On offense, we have to wonder who is going to replace the production of the recently departed Tony Gonzalez. Mark Bradley, Bobby Engram and Jeff Webb might have a shot at contributing half of his numbers. That means Dwayne Bowe will need to be a monster this season.

We don't know if Bowe will ever be a true number one receiver, but generally it takes the great ones two years to take their game to the next level. In the event he doesn't, we have to hope that the Chiefs will make a run at Arizona's Anquan Boldin before the month ends.

With OTA sessions beginning next week before a mandatory three day mini-camp in early June, it would be nice to have Boldin on board so he can develop some chemistry with Matt Cassel.


There's No Power Struggle - May 12th, 2009

There was speculation recently from Pro Football Talk in regard to who is in charge of the Chiefs. Mike Florio speculated that there might be some power issues between Chiefs President Denny Thum and General Manager Scott Pioli.

Allow me to deflate all of this. The Chiefs are a typical business with one boss. That boss is Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt, who made a decision early this offseason that he would include Denny Thum in the interviews leading up to the selection of Carl Peterson's replacement.

At the conclusion of that process, Pioli had a good understanding that Thum would likely remain to handle the business side of things. The two spent time talking about their prospective roles before he agreed to become KC's new GM. Though it was just announced in the last several days that Thum was staying on as team President, his role in the organization really hasn't changed.

The only thing that has is the fact Pioli will be the primary negotiator in contract talks with free agents, draft picks and quite likely coaches. That's no longer Thum's area. Does that indicate a rift?

Not at all. Hunt made it clear that he would separate the business side of the Chiefs from the football side.

Pioli heads up one side, Thum the other. This was all part of the plan. Hunt was wise to ensure no one man would have all the power, but that also meant he'd have to find two men who could work together. Thus far it appears he has done just that.

Any speculation otherwise is not worth reading.


Why Grade The Draft? – May 13, 2009

Everyone knows the NFL draft is an absolute crapshoot. Sometimes you roll a seven and sometimes you hit an 11. Everything else in between just keeps the game rolling. This year the Chiefs, for the most part, took seven players they felt could make the roster in 2009.

We can debate about where they were taken, and in that regard everyone is still focusing on the Chiefs' first pick, defensive end Tyson Jackson. Here's what we've learned about him since he was drafted by the Chiefs.

He works hard in practice, never quits, will outwork every other player on the roster, and loves the game of football. He eats, sleeps and breathes it and wants to earn the mega millions Scott Pioli and Clark Hunt will hand over in the coming months.

Jackson was regarded a reach by most NFL experts, but not to Pioli and certainly not to Haley. Still, experts claim that because the Chiefs took a player that might have slid to the fifth or 10th selection, Kansas City's drafted graded out as a C or D.

At this point, how does anyone know how these players are going to pan out over the next three years? Last month several members of the media re-mocked the 2008 first round, and some placed Glenn Dorsey in the 20's based on his rookie season.

Most of these "remocks" had Dorsey, Branden Albert and Brandon Flowers in the first round. The Chiefs received high grades from most draft experts last offseason, but now with three selections from the 2008 class already history, and Dorsey in line to be a backup this season, do we change those high grades?

Perhaps, but we can only do that because we saw the talent on the field for an entire season. And it may take another year to truly grade out the 2008 draft because of Kansas City's changes in the front office and coaching staff.

The bottom line is that grading anyone from the 2009 draft class is premature at this time.

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