Warpaint Roundtable – Offseason Edition XVII

This week we discuss Arrowhead concessions, competition for starting spots, free-agent additions and the Royals versus the Chiefs.

What starting positions are wide open for competition, and why?

Nick Athan: Offensively it's center and right tackle. On defense, how the defensive line shakes out will be interesting. The safeties, corners and linebackers are all set at the moment, but the defensive line is a bit of a mystery. Tyson Jackson will start at one end while Alex Magee, Alfonso Bonne or Glenn Dorsey will play the other side.

Don't rule out Boone starting but most likely the rookies will land both spots come opening day. Tank Tyler at the moment is the best option at nose tackle because of his ability to get up the field.

Michael Ash: We can eliminate a few off the bat. There's not much competition for Albert at left tackle, for example, or for Bowe as the #1 receiver. But in the situations where there's not an obvious clear-cut starter, every position is open for competition.

Todd Haley has even suggested there would be a competition at quarterback, but I don't actually buy that particular example. Clearly the new staff isn't going to hand out jobs to players who haven't earned them.

C.E. Wendler: With the lack of experienced 3-4 players, competition will be at an all-time high in the front seven. The Chiefs may enter training camp with only Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas as locks to be starters. There's no reason to guarantee anyone else a starting spot, because no one has proven anything.

This is in direct contrast to the previous coaching staff. Remember last training camp, when the Chiefs pretty much handed the starting middle linebacker job to Pat Thomas? Napoleon Harris was barely given a chance. How did that work out? By the end of the season Derrick Johnson was the starting middle linebacker.

Offensively, unless the Chiefs make a trade for Anquan Boldin, the competition for the second wide receiver spot should be an interesting battle. We know Bobby Engram may take on more of a role as the slot receiver. Will Devard Darling elevate his game? Will Mark Bradley continue the success he found last season? Will Jeff Webb emerge?

Pioli indicated after the draft that the Chiefs were not through adding players and there was still a lot of work to do in that respect, so if that was true when and how do they find more players? The Chiefs don't seem to be doing much on the Boldin or Peppers front.

Nick Athan: With the salary cap going up, Pioli needs to back up his statement. My take is that he's not likely to add much, which means no Boldin or Peppers unless the trade is structured in a way that benefits the Chiefs.

Right now this team is better than a year ago, that's for certain, but it's not as good as it could be with some additions. The Chiefs can't stand pat, not with the cap space they have, because they are running perilously close to the minimum. I think Pioli has something planned but it could be awhile until we find out.

Is the dream of Julius Peppers dead?
Kevin C. Cox - Getty

Michael Ash: Pioli, as he's always done in his career, will continue to pick up under-the-radar free agents as they're cut by other teams. I'm sure the Chiefs aren't done adding bodies to the roster. As for Boldin and Peppers, can we please stop the madness? Neither player is going to wear a Chiefs' uniform this season.

C.E. Wendler: Just be patient. The cuts will start coming in on June 1, and that's when the Chiefs will start to be more active. There's rarely any kind of activity from NFL teams this time of year. At this point they're likely still evaluating what little tape they have from mini-camps and OTAs.

As for Boldin and Peppers, while it does seem unlikely that either will be Chiefs in 2009 right now, let's not forget that big-name players often don't catch on with their new teams until right before training camp. Ty Law, for instance, wasn't a Chief in 2006 until July 25. Brett Favre wasn't traded to the Jets until August 7 last season! That's practically the preseason. As a huge fan of both Peppers and Boldin, I'm not giving up on either player until September.

Does anyone really buy the 12-ounce bud lights for $7 when they can get the 24-ounce Coronas for $10? For some reason this always ends up vexing me during halftime at Arrowhead!

Nick Athan: The offseason is slow, but is it so bad we're talking brewskis? I'm a Corona man but being in the media, abstain from drinking during games. With the economy in the toilet and season ticket sales down to about half what they've been in the past it would not surprise me to see those 24oz deals going to $12.

Michael Ash: While the Coronas provide you with an extra 12 ounces, don't forget that you lose out on the perfect balance of flavor, filling, and refreshment that you get with a Bud Light. It's a little something I like to call "drinkability."

(This answer has been brought to you by Anheuser-Busch, proud sponsor of the WPI roundtable.)

C.E. Wendler: Why does anyone buy beer during football games? First off, the lines at Arrowhead are always insane, especially at halftime. Second, you should get enough of a buzz in the parking lot before the game.

Besides, all that beer is just going to make you need to visit the luxurious "trough" restrooms at Arrowhead. You could miss important plays, and who wants that? Here's an idea – total up all the money you spend on beer at Arrowhead and see what it comes to. It could pay for a ticket to another game, depending on your mileage.

What's more likely to happen first? The Royals in the World Series or the Chiefs in the playoffs?

Nick Athan: The Chiefs in the playoffs. The Royals are not going to the World Series for at least two or three years, if at all. The Chiefs are closer closer to making the playoffs. How far they go remains to be seen.

Can Greinke lead the Royals to the World Series?
G Newman Lowrance - Getty

Michael Ash: The Chiefs, but if you were to ask which would happen first - the Chiefs in the Super Bowl or the Royals in the World Series - I'd take the Royals. If the Royals were to actually make the playoffs, the postseason is all about pitching. With Zack Greinke going twice per series, the Royals might have the arms to get to the ALCS and into the big dance.

C.E. Wendler: As someone who isn't a Royals fan, I don't see how they can ever compete with teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. Seeing them in a World Series would be a shock, to be honest, so you have to go with the Chiefs in the playoffs.

As the Dolphins showed us just a year ago, it's far too easy to go from worst to first in the NFL in one offseason. It happens too frequently, especially when you find a quarterback. If Matt Cassel is the quarterback Scott Pioli and Todd Haley believe him to be, it won't be long until Arrowhead is host to another postseason game.

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